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Lookback - September 01, 2012
August Lookback
Another changeable month, but generally quite warm

By Philip Eden

Mean maximum temperature during August ranged from 23.9°C at St James's Park (London) to 14.1°C at Fair Isle (between Orkney and Shetland), while mean minimum temperature varied between 15.6°C at Lee-on-Solent (Hants) and 8.1°C at Loch Glascarnoch (Wester Ross). Daytime temperatures were typically within 0.5 degC of the long-term average except in East Anglia and Southeast England where they were 1.0-1.5 degC above, whereas night-time temperatures were 0.0-1.0 degC above the average. The Central England Temperature (CET) of 16.7°C was 0.2 degC above the mean for 1981-2010 - the highest in August since 2004. In the last 100 years 19 Augusts were warmer and 81 were cooler.

The highest maximum at a standard site (i.e excluding rooftop and mountain sites) in the UK was 32.4°C at Cavendish (Suffolk) on the afternoon of the 18th, while the lowest minimum was minus 2.4°C at Braemar (Aberdeenshire) early on the 31st. The lowest daytime maximum was 11.9°C at Fair Isle (between Orkney and Shetland) on the 4th, while the warmest night was that of 17th/18th with a minimum of 20.7°C at Langdon Bay (Kent).

Rainfall averaged over England and Wales during August was 94mm which is 130 per cent of the average for the standard reference period 1981-2010. It was slightly wetter than August 2011 and rather less wet than August 2010; however, in the last 100 years just 33 Augusts were wetter while 67 were drier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 105mm and 134 per cent of the normal amount, and for Northern Ireland 84mm and 119 per cent. Monthly totals at routinely-available sites varied between 218mm at St Bees Head (Cumbria) and 20mm at Shoeburyness (Essex).

Sunshine averaged over England and Wales during August was 168 hours which is just 87 per cent of the 1981-2010 mean - not quite as gloomy as either of the last two Augusts. In the last 100 years, 35 Augusts were duller while 65 were sunnier. The equivalent figures for Scotland were 144 hours and 101 per cent, and for Northern Ireland 170 hours and 111 per cent. Largest total in the UK was 203 hours at Jersey airport (Channel Islands) and the smallest was just 88 hours at Lerwick (Shetland).

Strongest winds during August occurred on the 27th with gusts to 56 knots at West Guerinish (Western Isles).

Over England and Wales it was the coolest summer quarter (June, July, August) only since last year, but it was the wettest since 1912 and the dullest since 1954.

By Philip Eden

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