Conor Byrne and Rok Nežič 

You may have noticed that the weather has been quite mild recently. Well, data from the Armagh Observatory meteorological station can back this up. Yesterday (Tuesday 26th February) was the warmest February day on record in Armagh, with a maximum temperature of 17.0°C! This is quite a feat, as our daily maximum and minimum temperature records date back to 1844.  

Armagh PhD student Conor Byrne, taking the weather reading this morning. Photo credit: Rok Nežič. 

This is significantly warmer than the previous record holder of 15.8°C, recorded on 13th February 1998. In fact, three of the 10 warmest February days in our records are from the past week, the others being 14.8°C on the 25th and 14.5°C on the 21st.  

The unusually mild winter temperatures are not limited to Armagh, either: the first-ever winter (December-February) temperatures above 20 degrees recorded by the Met Office were taken in Trawsgoed, Ceredigion, where the thermometer reached 20.3°C on Monday 25th February. The mercury kept rising in the following days and the highest ever February temperature recorded in the British Isles was recorded in the Kew Gardens (London) yesterday: a whopping 21.2°C! That’s rather more reminiscent of summer temperatures than winter ones! 

This is not the only record-breaking observation of the last 12 months, with the warmest day ever recorded in Armagh occurring last summer (30.4°C on 27th June 2018). 

In contrast, this time last year we were gripped in the jaws of ‘The Beast from the East’ (24th February – 4th March 2018), which brought us inches of snow that lasted into March! While some cold fronts will be crossing over in the coming days and cool us down a little from this unseasonal warmth, we don’t expect to see any extreme weather in the near future. 

Armagh Observatory main building during heavy snowfall on the 1st March 2018, one year before the hottest February day. Photo credit: Conor Byrne. 

The meteorological station, currently located on the South Lawn of the Observatory, takes various observations including minimum and maximum temperatures, soil temperatures and hours of sunshine to name but a few. 

The Armagh Observatory Met Station, on the South Lawn of the Observatory. Photo credit: Rok Nežič. 

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