Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Warmest and Windiest

The start of the new year means a fresh set of highest and lowest weather records for the year. Sunday set a couple of those producing the mildest and windiest day of the year.
Temperature Records 01-15 January 2019 (with Highest & Lowest values since 2009)
The temperature reached 11.4°C (52.5°F) on Sunday afternoon, the mildest this year, but accompanied by a gales force wind it wasn't the nicest of days. It was windy enough to make it into my top twenty list of windiest days since 2010. Even though it was the twelfth windiest day in almost ten years, as far as I know, it wasn't due to any named storm. 
Almost half way through the month and January is turning out to be a mild month with the average temperature for January a couple of degrees Celsius above what we might expect. Nightime temperatures in particular have been well above average with some overnight temperatures exceeding average January daytime values.

Outside there are the first hopeful signs of spring as early flowering bulbs push through the surface of the soil.
It's nice to see the bulbs emerging but I'm guessing we've still got the worst of the winter weather to come.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Continuing Dull and Mild

The dull and mild start to the new year continues but there are all sorts of stories about how the weather might change by the end of the month. I don't think anything is certain at the moment but it seems the longer range weather models are suggesting much colder conditions towards the end of January and into February probably as a result of that Sudden Stratospheric Warming event at the end of last year. The shorter range models haven't picked up on this cold weather pattern yet so anything could still happen.

Yesterday, Friday, we set out to see 60103 Flying Scotsman haul the Scotsman Salute a charter train from London Kings Cross to York. This was in memory of Sir William McAlpine who repatriated Flying Scotsman from America. Sir William was the owner of Flying Scotsman from 1973–1996.
Sir William bought Flying Scotsman for £25,000 and paid for the locomotive to be brought back to the UK from San Francisco where it had been on tour. He then paid for the locomotive to be restored and brought back into main line operation.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

First Flowers of the Year

It's been a very dull and dreary start to the new year. Up until yesterday, Tuesday, my weather station hadn't recorded any sunshine hours at all. With all the cloud it's resulted in a pretty mild start to 2019 even if it's been on the dull side.

Temperature & Rainfall Records 03-09 January 2019
Sunshine or not our hellebores are starting to flower and with a bit of luck will provide us with 
an early display of colour for a couple of months.
I've noticed that there's a suggestion our weather could turn much colder by the end of the month and into the beginning of February. This might well be the weather models responding to the Sudden Stratospheric Warming which occurred over Christmas. Of course this comes with the usual warning that predicting what our weather will be like in a couple of weeks time isn't set in stone by any means.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Not Much Happening

There’s not a lot to say about our weather at the moment, nor have we been doing a great deal at the plot, so there's nothing much to blog about. Since the new year we haven’t been lucky enough to see any sunshine and apart from the first few hours of the new year it’s been on the chilly side, although as yet the temperature hasn’t fallen below freezing.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 29 December 2018 - 04 January 2019

I need to set up my new website pages for 2019 which will take me a week or two to complete so links already set up might not work as expected until I get all the new links for this year sorted out.

Despite the cold and dull weather we’ve, had a couple of visits to the allotment. One of the jobs we’ve been planning on doing for a couple of winters now was sorting out our old cold frame which had been wrapped in environmesh to stop the wind from breaking the glass. Brambles had taken control with stems attaching themselves to the environmesh.
It took a while to untangle the brambles and remove the glass which is now stored safely in the greenhouse.
Once the cold frame was moved out of the way, to another part of the plot, the ground it had been covering for a few years was dug over. The ground was thick with bindweed roots, and as many of these as we could find were removed as the soil was dug over. There’s now a large heap of bindweed roots drying out ready for burning.
Moving the cold frame was one of those jobs where if they don't get done through winter, then they won’t be done at all, as we’re too busy sowing, planting or harvesting at other times of the year.

It’s not the only winter job we have planned but at this time of year the weather can put all our plans on hold.

I was surprised when I looked back at the temperatures for 2018 that with that long hot dry summer it wasn't the warmest year I've recorded over the last nine years. Amazingly, it didn't even make second or third place either.
Average Yearly Temperatures 2010-2018
Average Yearly Rainfall 2010-2018
If you haven't already guessed despite that long dry summer, our rainfall for the whole year was slightly below average but no way near the driest year of the last nine.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Sudden Stratospheric Warming Underway

It's not been a bad week for December. Last weekend was wet before turning cold for a couple of days but since then it's been dry and mild although not very sunny.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 23-29 December 2018
We needed some fresh veggies for Christmas dinner so we had a trip down to the plot on Monday a cold Christmas Eve afternoon.
It didn't take long to collect some sprouts, leeks, carrots, parsnips and a savoy cabbage. It certainly hadn't been cold enough to freeze any of our vegetables. That might be our entire sprout harvest for the year but the savoy cabbage "Sabrosa" was a pleasant surprise. I didn't really think they'd formed a decent tight head but that wasn't the case.

Later in the week we braved the holiday traffic and had an afternoon trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Although there was a little bit of sunshine when we arrived around lunchtime, it didn't last very long. I did manage a photo of a lioness making the most of a bit of winter sunshine.
By the time we'd walked around to the polar bear enclosure the sunshine had disappeared leaving a rather dull but mild afternoon.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Last Wednesday I posted that the weather models were predicting a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event to take place over the North Pole during the Christmas period.
Output from The Tokyo Climate Center
The models were correct and as the chart above shows the temperature over the North Pole has risen dramatically by some 50 degrees Celsius over the last few days. We'll now have to see if this SSW has any effect on our weather. A similar occurrence last year was thought to have resulted in "The Beast From The East" bringing us a cold and snowy late winter and early spring. On the other hand SSW's, as I understand it, have occurred without any dramatic effects on our weather. We may have to wait a few weeks before we know one way or another. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Winter's First Milestone

The winter solstice which took place a couple of days ago marks the official start of winter but to me it marks the first milestone of winter as the daylight hours are now increasing each day. Imperceptible at first, especially on dull winter days like we've been having, but nevertheless daylight hours are getting longer by the day.
Solar Radiation Levels for 21 June & 21 December 2018
As gardeners will be aware light levels have a great deal to do with how plants grow. For comparison purposes the chart above show the solar radiation values for 21 June 2018 and 21 December 2018. Values in summer exceed 1000W/sqm whereas in winter they struggle to reach 100W/sqm. Whilst not a direct comparison of light levels it shows how much less energy we get from sunshine on the shortest and longest days of the year.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 17-23 December 2018
As I mentioned above it's been a dull miserable week, or more, weather wise. We haven't been to the plot for a couple of weeks now but we'll have to fit in a visit to harvest some fresh vegetables for Christmas dinner.
Everywhere is now very wet and soggy so it's going to be a messy job digging up carrots, parsnips and leeks. Still it's probably better than venturing out to the shops at this time of year!

There's been a challenge circulating amongst gardeners on YouTube to answer six questions regarding their gardening year in 2018. If you're interested our answers are covered in the video below.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Not Gardening Weather

There's not much going on regarding gardening at the moment but there may well be something afoot weather wise. Over the weekend storm Deirdre came and went producing for us nothing more than an average winter storm. We’d had a few very cold days leading up to the arrival of Deirdre and all the forecasts were that as Deirdre arrived she would bring some snow. As it turned out that wasn’t the case and we just had a wet and miserable day on Saturday.
Temperature & Rainfall Records 13-19 December 2018
The weather talk now has moved on to a major event that the weather models are predicting will take place towards the end of the month. The prediction is that a Sudden Stratospheric Warming will occur in the upper levels of the earth’s atmosphere. Current predictions are for this to occur over Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
From Gav's Weather Videos
The model view is looking down at the north pole in the centre of the image. Normally the pole would be covered with the purple and blue colours indicating extreme cold. The red colours indicate the Sudden Stratospheric Warming predicted to take place.

If this happens it will take several days or even a couple of weeks before it affects our weather and it’s by no means certain that it will have an effect and exactly what it will be.

The last Sudden Stratospheric Warming occurred at the beginning of last year and more than likely resulted in the Beast From The East which brought us a spell of very cold and snowy weather during late winter and early spring 2018. 
02 April 2018
Taking place even earlier this time, it’s possible that we could be in for a very cold January, February and possibly even March. I’ve seen comparisons with winter 2010 which turned out to be one of the coldest winters on record. 

Of course, this is only a weather model prediction so there’s always a chance, that like the snow forecast for last weekend, it won’t actually happen.