Armagh Observatory, 7th January 2023. Armagh Observatory reports that December 2022 was cooler, sunnier and drier than average. This was the coolest December at Armagh for 12 years and the fourth-coolest December at Armagh during the last 40 years.
Considering calendar year 2022, this was the warmest year on record at Armagh, that is, since daily temperature measurements began at the Observatory around 1795. The three warmest years on record at Armagh are now 2022 (mean temperature 10.8 C), 2007 (10.6 C) and 2021 (10.5 C). The calendar year also had more sunshine than average but near average precipitation.
The mean temperature this December was 3.64 C (38.6 F), approximately 1.0 C cooler than the 225-year (1796–2020) long-term December average at Armagh (4.64 C) and 1.6 C cooler than the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (5.23 C).
This was the coolest December at Armagh since the exceptionally cold December 2010 (mean temperature -0.33 C). The cool month ended a record 18-month period at Armagh in which each month from June 2021 to November 2022 had a higher average temperature than the corresponding most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average.
Snow fell for a short time on the morning of the 10th and unusual very small drops of freezing precipitation were seen around 16:00 GMT on the 13th.
The highest daily maximum temperature, which for most purposes can be regarded as the warmest day, was 13.6 C on the 19th. This was followed by 13.4 C, which following standard meteorological procedures was attributed to the 18th despite this second-highest maximum occurring around 05:49 GMT on the 19th.
The lowest daily maximum temperature (loosely, the coolest day) was -1.5 C, and conventionally attributed to the 12th despite the daily maximum occurring at approximately 05:02 GMT on the 13th. The second-lowest maximum was -0.8 C, which occurred around midday on the 13th.
The highest daily minimum (loosely, the warmest night) was 8.2 C conventionally attributed to the 1st although this highest minimum had in fact occurred around 09:00 GMT the previous day, 30th November. This was followed by the month’s second-highest daily minimum of 6.1 C on the 2nd.
The lowest daily minimum (loosely, the coolest night) was -7.1 C around 09:00 GMT on the morning of the 14th, followed by -7.0 C attributed to the 15th although it in fact fell around 09:00 GMT on the 14th, and then by -6.2 C on the 12th.
There were 23 ground frosts, that is, when the grass-minimum thermometer recorded less than or equal to zero Celsius. The coldest such frosts were -10.0 C on the 12th, -9.8 C on the 14th, and -9.7 C on the 16th. The two air frosts this month (-1.5 C and -0.8 C) were conventionally attributed to the 12th and 13th.
Total precipitation was 69.2 mm (2.72 inches) including 6 trace values, and therefore 68.9 mm if trace values are ignored. This was approximately 88% of the 183-year (1838–2020) long-term average December precipitation at Armagh (78.2 mm) and 85% of the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (81.4 mm). This was the driest December at Armagh for six years, that is, since December 2015 (51.65 mm).
The wettest day was the 29th with 28.1 mm (1.11 inches) of rainfall, followed by 4.9 mm on the 16th and 4.6 mm on the 15th. The 29th was the wettest December day at Armagh for seven years, that is, since 29th December 2015 (31.1 mm) and the 16th-wettest December day on record at Armagh. A rainbow was seen on the afternoon of the 26th.
With a total of 55.7 hours of strong sunshine, this was the sunniest December at Armagh for 10 years, that is, since December 2012 (56.7 hours). The sunniest day was the 9th with 6.3 hours of strong sunshine, followed by the 16th with 4.9 hours and the 15th with 4.6 hours.
Considering the 2022 calendar year, with an average temperature of 10.80 C this was the warmest year on record at Armagh. The five warmest years at Armagh are now 2022 (10.80 C), 2007 (10.62 C), 2021 (10.48 C), 2006 (10.45 C), and 1949 (10.42 C).
2022 was also calmer than average, sunnier, and with average precipitation. With just five named storms (two in January and three in February), this was the first year since the official naming of storms began in 2015 that the UK and Ireland had no named autumn or (so far) winter storms.
The total of 1433.1 hours of strong sunshine was nearly 14% more than the 140-year (1881–2020) long-term average at Armagh (1258.2 hours) and 12% more than the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (1281.0 hours). This was the sunniest year at
Armagh for 19 years, that is, since 2003 (1433.9 hours), and the ninth-sunniest year at Armagh since daily records began around 1880.
Total annual precipitation amounted to 829.3 mm including 44 trace values, or 827.1 mm if trace values are ignored. This is very close to the 183-year (1838–2020) long-term average (816 mm) at Armagh and the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (825 mm).
There has been no significant increase in the average annual precipitation at Armagh over the nearly 200 years that daily rainfall records have been taken at the Observatory.
The year saw many records and near-records broken, including the sunniest March on record at Armagh, that is, since around 1880; the sunniest November for 98 years; the wettest September day on record at Armagh (47.8 mm on 3rd September); and an
exceptional five-day heatwave in August (9th to 13th). This was the longest August heatwave at Armagh since both a five-day and a seven-day heatwave occurred in August 1995. The year also saw the second-warmest autumn on record at Armagh, with grass
continuing to grow and lawns needing to be cut right up to the end of November, and with leaves staying on many trees up to the end of the month.
The highest temperature recorded at Armagh during 2022 was 31.2 C on 18th July, equalling that seen on the same day at Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh. This value was only 0.1 C, and therefore within instrumental uncertainties, below the highest temperature ever observed from Northern Ireland, which is approximately 31.3 C, a value seen both at Castlederg (on 21st July 2021) and Armagh (on 22nd July 2021).
A variety of birds were seen during the year, including large numbers of herring gulls (suggesting that these birds have now taken up permanent residence in colonies far from the coast), a dove, a heron, a kestrel and sparrowhawk, and flights of geese and ravens. The first sightings of swallows and swifts this year were on the 1st and 9th May respectively.
Rare non-meteorological phenomena recorded during the year included pressure wave from the Tonga volcanic eruption as they circled the Earth on the 15th, 16th and 17th January; a daylight meteor seen from near Armagh at approximately 07:50 GMT on 24th January; and the partial solar eclipse seen on the morning of 25th October.
These data refer to observations at Armagh Observatory, which has been recording the weather at Armagh since 1795.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Mark Bailey at the Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG. Tel.: 028-3752-2928; firstname.lastname@example.org; URL: http://climate.arm.ac.uk/.