Sunday, 6 March 2016

Was It the Warmest Winter on Record?

I’m guessing it depends on where you live and exactly which records you use as a comparison. If you’ve read any of my blog posts you will know that I like to use the Met Office Central England Temperature Records for comparison purposes.

The Met Office description of this record is given below:
Hadley Centre Central England Temperature (HadCET) dataset  
The CET dataset is the longest instrumental record of temperature in the world. The mean, minimum and maximum datasets are updated monthly, with data for a month usually available by the 3rd of the next month. A provisional CET value for the current month is calculated on a daily basis. The mean daily data series begins in 1772 and the mean monthly data in 1659. Mean maximum and minimum daily and monthly data are also available, beginning in 1878. 
Brief description of the data 
These daily and monthly temperatures are representative of a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Lancashire, London and Bristol. The monthly series, which begins in 1659, is the longest available instrumental record of temperature in the world. The daily mean-temperature series begins in 1772. Manley (1953, 1974) compiled most of the monthly series, covering 1659 to 1973. These data were updated to 1991 by Parker et al (1992), who also calculated the daily series. Both series are now kept up to date by the Climate Data Monitoring section of the Hadley Centre, Met Office. Since 1974 the data have been adjusted to allow for urban warming: currently a correction of -0.2 °C is applied to mean temperatures.

So I thought I’d look to see where last winter comprising December, January and February come in this temperature series. I’ve placed the coldest winters and mildest winters in the table below.

This covers the last 357 years with the coldest winters in the left hand column and mildest winters in the right hand column. Looking at the bottom of the right hand column this shows that the winter of 1869 was milder than 2016 pushing last winter into second place. Working out the same average for last winter using Ossett temperatures gives an average of 6.7°C.

So it was close but it wasn’t the mildest winter “ever” based on this record.


  1. It's been incredibly warm hasn't it. All gone a bit chilly now though.

    1. It knows that it's seed sowing time. Lovely cold sunny day here.


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