Lookback - May 01, 2012
April 2012 Lookback
2nd wettest in 285 years of records

By Philip Eden


Mean maximum temperature for April ranged from 13.4°C at Southampton National Oceanographic Centre to 6.9°C at Lerwick (Shetland), while mean minimum temperature varied between 7.2°C at St Mary's (Isles of Scilly) and minus 0.1°C at Dalwhinnie (Inverness-shire) and Braemar (Aberdeenshire). Mean monthly temperature was 0.5-1.5degC below the 1981-2010 normal in all parts of the country, with a slightly larger deficit by day than by night. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 7.3°C was 1.2 degC below the long-term mean and the lowest in April since 1989. In the last 100 years 19 Aprils were colder while 81 were warmer.


The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK occurred on the afternoon of the 30th with a reading of 19.7°C at Kew Gardens (London), while the lowest minimum was minus 8.2°C at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) early on the 5th. The lowest daytime maximum was 0.3°C at Carter Bar (Roxburghshire) on the 3rd and at Pennerley (Salop) on the 4th, while the warmest night was that of 26th/27th with a minimum of 10.0°C at St Catherine's Point (Isle of Wight).


Rainfall averaged over England and Wales during April was 140.4mm which is 216 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010, the highest for this month since 2000; since useful rainfall records began in 1727 April has been wetter only in 2000 and 1756. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 90mm and 152 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 63mm and 112 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites varied between 290mm at Liscombe (Somerset) and 31mm at Auchincruive (Ayrshire).


Sunshine averaged over England and Wales during April was 136 hours which is 87 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean, making this the dullest April since 1998. In the last 100 years there have been 15 duller Aprils while 85 have been sunnier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 135 hours and 83 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 198 hours and 113 per cent. Largest total in the UK was 237 hours at Tiree (Inner Hebrides) and the smallest was 71 hours at Dyce (Aberdeenshire) - a new low record for the site.


Strong winds occurred on the 3rd, 4th and 29th; the highest known gust was 66 knots at Warcop (Cumbria) on the 29th.


By Philip Eden


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