RECORD-BREAKING MARCH: SUNNIEST FOR AT LEAST 141 YEARS, DRIEST FOR 10 YEARS AND WARMEST FOR 5 YEARS.

Armagh Observatory reports that March 2022 was the sunniest March on record at Armagh, and drier and warmer than average. This March was the sunniest at Armagh for at least 141 years, the driest for 10 years, and the warmest for five years.

With a total of 188.4 hours of strong sunshine March 2022 had approximately 85% more hours of strong sunshine than the 140-year long-term (1881–2020) March average (101.7 hours) and 83% more than the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (103.0 hours). This was the sunniest March at Armagh since daily sunshine records began at the Observatory towards the end of April 1880.

The five sunniest Marchs at Armagh are now March 2022 (188.4 hours), March 1894 (175.0 hours), March 1929 (170.4 hours), March 1905 (154.0 hours), and March 2003 (146.1 hours).

The three sunniest days this March were the 31st with 11.6 hours of strong sunshine, the 19th with 10.7 hours and the 18th with 10.3 hours. The 31st was the sunniest March-day at Armagh for 78 years, that is, since 1944. This was the equal-third sunniest March day on record at Armagh, shared with 27th March 1933, 28th March 1934, and 26th March 1944. The two sunnier March days are 29th March 1892 and 29th March 1910, both with 11.7 hours of strong sunshine.

Total precipitation this month was 38.9 mm (1.53 inches) including two trace values, that is, 38.8 mm if trace values are ignored. This was the third dry March in a row at Armagh, providing only 70% of the long-term (1838–2020) average March precipitation at Armagh (55.7 mm) and 65% of the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (59.7 mm). It was also the driest March at Armagh for 10 years, that is, since the exceptionally dry March 2012 (16.9 mm precipitation). The wettest day was the 9th with a total of 14.5 mm (0.57 inches) of rainfall, followed by 8.9 mm on the 12th, 6.7 mm on the 11th, and 3.2 mm on the 8th. Otherwise, there were no days with more than 2 mm of precipitation.

Hail was reported on the afternoon of the 4th and 8th, and rainbows on the 8th and 13th. A heron was seen on the 10th, and an exceptionally large colony of approximately 71 gulls was observed on the 16th around 09:00 GMT flying in a south-easterly direction.

The mean monthly temperature was 7.76 degrees Celsius (46.0 F), very slightly warmer than that for March 2021 and 2019 (both approximately 7.75 C). This was approximately 1.9 C warmer than the 225-year long-term (1796–2020) March average at Armagh (5.82 C) and 1.0 C warmer than the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average (6.75 C). This was the warmest March at Armagh for five years, that is, since March 2017 (mean temperature 8.2 C).

The highest maximum air temperature was 18.8 C on the afternoon of the 26th, preceded by 18.4 C on the 25th and followed by 18.0 C on the 27th. These warm March days occurred during a long warm period lasting eight days from the 22nd to the 29th during which each day’s maximum air temperature exceeded by at least 6.0 C the most recent (1991–2020) 30-year average March maximum air temperature (10.4 C) by at least 6.0 C. This year’s March ‘heatwave’ was also largely dry and sunnier than average.

The month’s highest maximum air temperature (18.8 C on the 26th) was the hottest day of the year, so far, and the warmest March day at Armagh for 10 years, that is, since 21.0 C was recorded on 27th March 2012 during a similar spell of unusually warm March weather. The highest minimum air temperature was 8.5 C on the 24th followed by 7.6 C on the 22nd.

The lowest maximum air temperature was 7.6 C on the 7th, followed by 8.5 C on the 30th. The lowest minimum air temperature was -2.6 C on the 6th, followed by -2.3 C on the 5th. There were 24 nights with ground frost (minimum grass temperature less than or equal to zero Celsius), of which the coldest two were -11.2 C on the 31st followed by -9.0 C on the 6th, and five nights with nighttime air frost (minimum air temperature less than or equal to zero Celsius). St Patrick’s Day (17th March) was relatively dry, with just 1.0 mm of rainfall, and with maximum, minimum and mean air temperatures close to the average for the month.

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.: 028-3752-3689;
mark.bailey@armagh.ac.uk; URL: http://climate.armagh.ac.uk/.


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