December 2022 – Colder than average (the only one in 2022)

The Weather at Gilesgate, Durham December 2022

As is so often said, December was a ‘month of two halves’.

The first half of the month was dominated by cold. It was the first and only month of 2022 to have a below average mean. It was the coldest December here since 2010. We even had an Ice Day on 13th (an Ice Day is when the maximum temperature for the day remains below freezing). Again, this last happened in December 2010.

The coldest spell of the month spanned 7th-18th. There was a small snowfall on the 8th December, mainly on high ground, but we got a covering in Durham which of course stayed around for several days, making walking about a bit of a hazard. There were 11 nights of consecutive air frosts ending on 18th.

There was then a dramatic rise in temperature as the Atlantic influence broke through, with the top temperature of the month of 12.0 degC recorded on the 19th. This meant that a white christmas was not on the cards this year.

Air pressure was falling and the month became wetter in the second half. The overall monthly mean temperature managed to claw it’s way back to 3.1 degC and the monthly total of rain at just shy of 57mm was pretty unremarkable for a December.

Weather of December 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 1

Weather of December 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 2

Weather of December 2022 at Durham. Temperature Summary

Weather of December 2022 at Durham. Rainfall Summary

From Trevor Harley

The only month of 2022 that was colder than average. The first half was very cold but fairly dry though with some snow, but it became somewhat milder and more unsettled from the 18th.Overall the CET was 3.4, making it the coldest December since the exceptionally cold month of December 2010. It was a drier than average month, with 87% of the UK average, but it was wet in eastern Scotland (here) and parts of southern England. It was though a sunny month (116%), except for the far north. The maximum at Braemar was -9.3 C on the 12th; the temperature then fell to -17.3 ºC there on the 13th. In contrast the highest temperature was 15.9 at Prestatyn and Hawarden (Clwyd, both famous “hot spots” for the Fohn effect). The greatest snow depth of the month was 15 cm at Loch Glascarnoch (Ross & Cromarty) on the 15th, and the highest rainfall total in an observing day (9-9) was 150.6 mm at White Barrow (Devon) on the 18-19th.

From Durham University Observatory

December was the only month in 2022 to record below-average temperatures. Despite this, 2022 was the warmest year on record at Durham since 1844 (10.59 °C), easily beating the previous record from 2014 (10.21 °C). The maximum temperature at Durham Observatory on 19th July was 36.9 °C, a full 4 degrees higher than the previous record set on 25 July 2019. All in all, a year of remarkably high temperatures!

This was the coldest December since 2010, and the first December to include an ‘ice day’ (when the maximum temperature remains below zero) since 2010. The maximum air temperature on the 12th only reached -1 °C. The next night was also very cold (minimum temperature: -6.3 °C), the equal 150thcoldest December night since 1850 (n=5310). The mean maximum was the equal 70th lowest since 1843 and the mean minimum the equal 55th lowest since 1843. Despite the low temperatures, the absolute maximum on the 13th is the 76th mildest December day on record. As might be expected, there was the lowest December mean grass minimum since 2010. It was an average month for both rainfall and sunshine.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt

Department of Geography

Durham University

December 2022

Tales of The Riverbank (and more)

We managed to haul ourselves out of the house today – 12th December 2022. It was bleak, about -1 degC and there had been another dusting overnight.

Starting in town, we headed south, passing the Fulling Mill and the Wear, and then over Prebends Bridge to the Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral in the mist
Durham Cathedral looms in the mist

The walk took us past the huge monolithic bulk of Durham Cathedral on the Peninsula on the other side of the river. The towers were just scraping the cloud. Our fingers had already started turning numb by then, and taking gloves off became a pain, but needs must.

Looking toward The Fulling Mill in the snow
Looking toward The Fulling Mill in the snow

The Fulling Mill was wearing it’s ‘snow hat’, the conditions being that little melting was happening. Little melting was happening in my soul either. The situation was beautifully bleak.

Snow covered log floating in the river
Snow covered log floating in the river

Even the logs floating in the river had a layer of snow, with just the signs of the birds feet in the snow, leaving evidence that wildlife still thrives in the river when the weather turns bleak. I have seen Cormorants here, Otters swimming and even the odd Kingfisher adding a flash of colour.

The weir, boathouses and Prebends Bridge in the snow
The weir, boathouses and Prebends Bridge in the snow

The boat houses and the weir looked very wintry indeed, with the usual pile of trees behind the weir to the right of the photograph. It’s a continual struggle on behalf of the Council to keep the river clear, with each spell of heavy rain bringing more flotsam and jetsam down into the city. There are three main areas it collects: (1) here, (2) on the main weir and fish ladder just up from Millburngate Bridge, and (3) on the piers in front of the ancient Elvet Bridge.

Video of the weir at the Mill

Looking back to the weir, with the Durham Cathedral in the mist
Looking back to the weir, with the Fulling Mill and Durham Cathedral in the mist

Here, looking back slightly, we can see how the Cathedral towers have started to vanish into the mist as the distance increases. The top of the central tower is almost completely gone, almost a ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

The Christmas tree inside Durham Cathedral
The Christmas tree inside Durham Cathedral

It was a welcome respite when we crossed the river via Prebends Bridge and walked into the South Bailey, around the back of the Cathedral (a very pretty and tranquil place) and inside the main building. The huge Christmas tree dominated and donated presents could be seen under it. All very festive in the run up to the big day. A chance to thaw out a little, and contemplate things.

The DLI Memorial Chapel inside Durham Cathedral
The DLI Memorial Chapel inside Durham Cathedral

I always like to pop around the corner and pay my respects at the DLI Chapel. The wreathes were all still there from the previous months Remembrance Day. The ancient regimental colours protect the wooden cross and offerings below.

Plant growing on the wall on Palace Green with Durham Castle in the background
Plant growing on the wall on Palace Green with Durham Castle in the background

Lastly, a shot from Palace Green. Looking up towards Durham Castle, I spotted this growing out of the wall, rooted in the joint crack between the cap stones. Perhaps a learned reader might be able to advise what it is? I’m no gardener, so any help would be appreciated here.

November 2022 – Very mild and unsettled

The Weather at Gilesgate, Durham November 2022

A very mild November at Durham, with the first half being especially so, but as usual in such a mild month it was also very wet.

The peak of the month’s warmth was on 11th November, when 16.5 degC was reached. The maximum actually reached 10 degC or more on 16 days in the month, which is quite respectable. There was only one air frost recorded (-0.3 on 29th).

The outstanding event of the month was the extraordinary total of rain on 17th November. The total of 55.7mm was recorded during the passing of a depression and although the total was a mammoth one for Gilesgate, there is no special mention of it in Professor Tim Burt’s notes for Durham University, so it seems to be a hyper-local total. The total for 17th was 31.6mm there, so it may have been split over two rainfall reporting days.

Note : The total for 16th-17th November 2022 at Durham University was 52.4mm. Their reporting retains the 0900-0900 throwback system, whereas at Gilesgate I report on a midnight-midnight system. The two totals are therefore very congruent after all. The total for 15th-17th at Gilesgate was 79.1mm (22.0,1.4 and 55.7). At Durham University Observatory it was 73.2mm (20.8,20.8 and 31.6).

Weather of November 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 1

Weather of November 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 2Weather of November 2022 at Durham. Temperature Summary

Weather of November 2022 at Durham. Rainfall Summary


From Trevor Harley

Very mild and unsettled, and very wet in places. It was the joint seventh mildest in the CET series, and since 1900 only 1994, 2011, 1938, and 2015 were milder, and the third warmest for the UK overall in records going back to 1884 (only 1994 and 2011 were milder). The month had a very mild first half with S and SW winds bringing warm air from the Azores. A new record high minimum was set for Scotland on the night of 10th-11th, with the temperature falling no lower than 14.6C at both Kinloss and Prestwick.  It was the mildest Armistice Day on record, with 15.9C recorded at Myerscough (Lancs.). The warmest ever day so late in the year, 21.2 C, was recorded at Porthmadog on the 13th (which was also the highest temperature of the month). It was cooler towards the end of the month. It was generally a wet month, particularly in the Western Isles, eastern Scotland, and southern England; UK rainfall was 130% of average  overall, and sunshine 95%, with it being particularly dull in the east. The coldest temperature was -6.0 C at Aviemore on the 30th, and 115.6 mm of rain fell in the rain day ending 9 am on the 11th at Achnagart (Ross & Cromarty). Shoreham (West Sussex) recorded 224 mm of rain for the month (compared with an average of about 90 mm).

From Durham University Observatory

Despite three cold days at the end of the month, this was still the 5th mildest November on record, a touch warmer than last year but just a bit cooler than November 2020.

The night of 11th November is the warmest on record for the month (14.4 °C), easily beating the previous record-holder, 11th November 2015 (13.7 °C); only three days were warmer this month! That night was followed by a maximum of 16.9 °C, the 9th warmest November day since 1843. There was the 3rdhighest mean grass minimum for November since 1874, exceeded only in 2011 and 2021, with 7 fewer ground frosts than usual. It was a wet month and, whilst nowhere near as the record holder 1965 (186.1 mm), it was nevertheless the equal 19th wettest November since 1850. Not surprisingly, it was a dull month, the equal 19th dullest November since 1880.

For autumn as a whole, this was the fourth warmest on record (11.3 °C), beaten only in 2011, 2021 and 2006. The mean maximum temperature (14,5 °C) is the 5th highest on record whilst the mean minimum (8.1 °C) is 2nd equal highest. There were just 4 air frosts, 7 fewer than normal and just 5 ground frosts, 12 fewer than normal, the 2nd lowest autumn total on record. The minimum on the night of 11th November is the equal 4th highest for autumn, remarkable for so late in the year. It was a wet autumn (292.6 mm), 150% of the average, the 11th wettest autumn on record. There were 65 rain days, the 5th highest autumn total. The sunshine total (298.4 hours) was just 24 minutes below the average!

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt

Department of Geography

Durham University

October 2022 – Mainly mild and unsettled

The Weather at Gilesgate, Durham October 2022

The month was very mild. The temperature reached double figures every day, with an average max of nearly 15 degrees centigrade. There were no air frosts at all during the month. Professor Tim Burt reported that October 2022 was the 6th warmest October since 1843 at Durham. Thirteen days exceeded 15 degC at Gilesgate (14 at Durham University Observatory).

Rainfall was well distributed across the month. The wettest day was the 20th (23.2mm) and the total of 82mm was a little on the wet side overall for October.

Weather of October 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 1

Weather of October 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 2

Weather of October 2022 at Durham. Temperature Summary

Weather of October 2022 at Durham. Rainfall Summary

From Trevor Harley

Mild and unsettled, although with a cooler second week and very mild final ten days, with warm air sucked up from the south. There was generally little frost around. Maximum temperatures were most above average in SE England, and minimum temperatures most above average in central Scotland. (I can vouch for that; see my weather diary pages for my own weather station in East Scotland). The CET was 12.8 C, +2.0 over the 1990-2020 mean, making it the joint fifth warmest on record (since 1659, after 2001, which had an average of 13.2, and 1969, 2005, and 2006; six of the ten warmest Octobers have occurred since 2000). Rainfall was slightly higher than average (115%), although it was very wet in Northern Ireland but relatively dry in the east, where rain is most needed. It was generally a sunny month (114%), particularly in the east and central areas, especially north Norfolk, except for western Scotland. The highest temperature of the month was 22.9C at Kew Gardens in London, unusually right at the end of the month, on the 29th, and the lowest temperature of the month an unremrakable -3.8 at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) on the 15th. The daily highest rainfall total was 102.6 mm at Honister Pass (Cumbria) on the 4-5th. So far every month in 2022 has been above temperature, and it has been the warmest January-October period in the UK on record. To date, much of East Anglia and the southeast of England have only seen half the expected rainfall for the year so far.

From Durham University Observatory

This is the 14th month in a row to experience above-average mean air temperature, a remarkable result given that the standard averaging period (1991-2020) is so recent. The mean air temperature is the 6th highest on record for October since 1843. The mean maximum is the equal 9th highest. Fourteen days had maximum temperatures above 15 °C but the absolute maximum was only 17.7 °C, equal 91st in the annual series; in all 220 October days have been warmer, with the maximum of 25.3 C on 1st October 2011. Reflecting such a mild month, the mean minimum temperature is the equal 8th highest on record since 1850; the absolute minimum (2.6 °C) is also the 8th highest in the annual series, with 8 absolute minima exceeding 10 °C this month. There were no air frosts and just one grass frost.

This was a wet month with six more rain days than normal, the equal 11th highest total of October rain days on record. It was the 40th wettest October on record (n=173) so just into the upper quartile. Nevertheless, it was a sunny month, well above average, the 7th sunniest October on record since 1880.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt

Department of Geography

Durham University

October 2022

September 2022 – Wetter than normal, slightly warmer

The Weather at Gilesgate, Durham September 2022

The first days of September 2022 continued in the same vein as the Summer.

The temperature reached 20 degC for the first seven days and for ten of the first thirteen. After that, it cooled slightly, but not markedly so. It still finished as a top 13 September though (reported by Professor Tim Burt below) and looked to be a contender for warmest September early on.

Three days had > 10mm of rainfall and overall the total of 90mm was on the high side for September. It was however the first month since May 2022 to receive more than the average monthly rainfall.

Overall, a pleasant month.

Weather of September 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 1

Weather of September 2022 at Durham. Daily Summary 2

Weather of September 2022 at Durham. Temperature Summary

Weather of September 2022 at Durham. Rainfall Summary

From Trevor Harley

September. Overall slightly warmer, wetter, and duller than average, although with wide geographical variations. Generally unsettled, it was quite warm for the first 12 days before becoming cooler, and then cold right at the end. It was relatively dry in NW Scotland and East Anglia, and wet in parts of the SE, east Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Overall rainfall was 111% of average, and sunshine 92%. The highest temperature of the month was 27.7C at Felsham (Suffolk) on the 4th, and the lowest -1.7 at Shap (Cumbria) on the 17th. 100.4 mm of rain fell in the final rain day of the monthat Seathwaite (Cumbria).

From Durham University Observatory

The first few days of September reflected the warmth of summer: for the first time since 1999, all the first seven days of September had a maximum temperature above 20 °C; this also happened in 1939 and 1947. Thereafter, autumn set in, with cooler days and nights, and prospect of a record-breaking September soon receded! Nevertheless, it was still a very warm month, the 13th equal warmest September since 1843. There was the 29th equal highest mean maximum and the 12th equal highest mean minimum. There were no very warm days but the absolute maximum on the 5th (23.1 °C) is nevertheless the 124th equal warmest September day on record. The minimum of 15.4 °C on the 4th is the 19th equal highest absolute minimum on record for September (n=5388). The mean grass minimum is the 12th equal highest on record since 1874. This was the 13th month in a row to be warmer than average.

September was a wet month: the 22nd wettest September since 1850, the first month since May to record above-average rainfall. Sunshine was just below average, the least sunny September since 2017.

Emeritus Professor Tim Burt

Department of Geography

Durham University

September 2022

August 2022 – Hot and Dry. Another record breaking month

August 2022

According to Tim Burt at the Durham University Observatory, August 2022 was the 2nd hottest August in Durham since 1843 (when the record began). It was beaten only by August 1975, a month I remember vividly too. There were 23 days over 20 degC. The average for the month was 17.5 degC at my station in Gilesgate, whilst the Durham University station returned 17.3 degC.

The heat of July 2022 returned in August, with a peak of 30.6 degC on the 10th. This made it the 3rd warmest August day on record, and the following day also exceeded 30 degC in Gilesgate, coming in at 30.3 degC.  The Durham Observatory site was a little cooler on this occasion. The hot spell from 9th-14th all had maximum temps over 27 degC.

Met Office Amber Extreme Heat Warning

Rainfall records show August 2002 to be the 3rd driest August since 1868 in Durham. Only 14mm was counted at Gilesgate, with half of that total falling on the 20th. There had been virtually no rain until then.

I don’t record sunshine totals on my weather station, but Tim Burt reckons this was also the 4th sunniest August on record, with 222 hours total. This represents 48% of the possible.

August 2022 Summaries

August 2022 Temperature Summary 1

August 2022 Temperature Summary 2

August 2022 Rainfall Summary 1

August 2022 Rainfall Summary 2

August 2002 Barometer Summary

The Summer of 2022

June 2022 was 10th hottest. July was the 2nd hottest on record, and August was 2nd hottest. It is not then surprising that Durham experienced the hottest overall summer since records began in 1843. It was also notably dry. with only 54% of average rainfall. and the 8th sunniest on record since 1880, with just two sunless days!