Sunniest March for 12 Years, Drier and Cooler than Average

Armagh Observatory reports that March 2015 was the sunniest March for twelve years, but drier and rather cooler than average.

A total of 137.7 hours of strong sunshine were recorded this month at Armagh, approximately 25% more than the long-term (1881–2010) average March sunshine at Armagh, and more than 40% more than the most recent 30-year (1981–2010) March average. This was the sunniest March since 2003, which had 146.1 hours of strong sunshine, and the eighth sunniest March since sunshine records began at Armagh in 1881. Unfortunately, and although dry, the day of the deep partial solar eclipse, Friday 20th March, registered only 0.2 hours of strong sunshine. The sunniest day was the 22nd, with 10.9 hours of strong sunshine.

Whereas the majority of days this March provided little or no rainfall, the month as a whole provided a total of 50 mm of precipitation including 4 trace values. This is approximately 76% of the most recent 30-year (1981–2010) average March precipitation at Armagh, making this March the driest at Armagh since 2012. There were two days (the 2nd and 3rd) with recorded snow cover on the ground, and three further days (the 23rd, 24th and 31st) with hail, the latter also providing sleet and some snowflakes. The wettest day was the 30th, with a total rainfall of 9.5 mm.

The mean temperature was approximately 5.9 degrees Celsius (42.7 degrees Fahrenheit), slightly warmer than the long-term (1796–2010) mean March temperature at Armagh but 0.74 degrees Celsius cooler than the most recent (1981–2010) average March temperature, which is 6.67 C. The warmest day (highest maximum air temperature) was 14.4 C on the 19th; the coldest night (lowest minimum air temperature) was -3.3 C on the 18th. That night also saw a sharp ground frost (minus 7.1 C), but the coldest ground frost this March occurred on the 25th with a minimum grass temperature of -8.4 C. There were 21 nights with grass frost and 12 with nighttime air frost.

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; FAX: 028-3752-7174; mebat signarm.ac.uk; URL: climate.arm.ac.uk.

Last Revised: 2015 April 2nd