A cold cold February

With not much talk of Phenology, I will attempt to make this post short. Meanwhile, my previous news still applies since the calendar is moving, see here – The Birds, they are a-singing and the daylight hours are 9 hours 38 minutes in length now and increasing rapidly. 

For my locality, this February’s weather has brought 3 days where snow was seen falling. The 5th February produced a day of snow lying. However, the main story is that of the cold and frosty nights. Unusually for my location, I even recorded an ICE day (yesterday) and it is just possible that today will be yet another. By definition, an ICE day is a day whereby the temperature never exceeds ZERO Celcius (32 F). Although it is a rare event, it did happen 10 times during the record-breaking December of 2010. This was the coldest December in the UK for over 100 years and I must say at this stage, February 2012 looks like joining this elite band.

Check out below for some evidence, courtesy of my Davis weather station.

Davis February 2012 daily data to 1216 090212
Davis February 2012 daily data to 1216 090212
Davis annual data up to 1216 090212
Davis annual data up to 1216 090212

Please look closely at the figures enclosed in blue or red ink as these show the figures in question. I am a very keen amateur meteorologist as will have become obvious by now. More of my insights into the UK weather can found at netweather.tv where I post as gottolovethisweather

Now that the secret is out, all I can hope is that this spell does not become too detrimental for our wildlife and as humans; we all take care out there.

Best Wishes

Tony Powell

12 thoughts on “A cold cold February

  1. Here in Germany we are coming to the end of our second week of ICE days and all signs of life have been frozen in time. (Our wildlife gets a helping hand to survive and is fed… by the hunters.)

    1. The UK is so lucky with its position on the edge of the atlantic and with most of europe under a terrible freeez, we should be grateful for the gulfstream. Your final comment about fed by the hunters hadn’t escaped my attention but will have escaped many others. I take it these hunters, just like the shooting estates in the UK have to take stock of their bounty and look after them. Some of the best nature reserves in the world are also hunting grounds and have to be managed with that in mind. I take it, there is a current ban on shooting in Germany due to the extreme temperatures, if not, there should be.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  2. Here in Portugal we are in the midst of a drought, there has been no significant rainfall since mid December, but I believe that this weather has been caused by blocking lows and not climate change. The only significant bird activity has been courting behaviour by our Bonelli’s Eagles, which are resident and usually occurs at this time of year. I have noticed Hoopoe’s this January, but I cannot be certain that they are not normally resident here. I will have to start recording my observations to establish the correct Phenology, so it take me some years to have any serious trends. The resident garden birds are not nesting yet, and I have not noticed any summer visitors.

    1. Hi madmike,

      Please do attempt some record keeping yourself, as you will soon come across some interesting trends. As you say however, a bigger sample may be necessary in terms of whether, something is permanent or just a blip. What is particularly odd with the global climate over the last few years are the abrupt changes from one month to another. Nevertheless, this is not my area of interest but I will continue to plot the Phenology events for many years to come.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  3. Very interesting! It’s finally starting to get appropriately cold here in the US and it is beginning to snow more regularly up north and out west. Since in science as in weather, you can’t have troughs without peaks, perhaps the unusual bitter cold in eastern Europe is the counter-balance for the unusual warm winter here in the US.

    1. Exactly, once nature stops balancing things out, then that may be the time to be concerned. Its not just Eastern Europe either, as like us with our snow and ice, other Western parts are joining in the fun and games. The deep cold has penetrated a long way South and West into Europe and I feel it will take a good while for things to change. Nevertheless, life goes on and nature will bring us many surprises as the Spring season approaches.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

  4. Hello Tony,

    I didn’t realise this February had been THAT cold. But it’s snowing again here in Cambridge right now.

    I have a meteorological question for you: how are mean temperatures calculated? I can see how a median would be easy to determine but what would the difference be between a median and a mean for temperature over a specified time period?

    Cheers

    Finn

    1. Hi,

      For those that I wanted to see my offline reply to Finn, it is copied below.

      Hi Finn,

      It is achieved automatically by the Weather Station’s software. Basically,
      it totals up all the Maximum Air Temperatures and the Minimum Air
      Temperatures and works out an average of the two. It then cleverly computes
      a Mean Temperature comparison to the CET (Central England Temperature)
      range. I believe my official comparison site is Benson in Oxfordshire.

      My location is sheltered by a wood to my south and lies in a bit of a Frost
      hollow.

      The figures quoted are rolling figures and are updated every minute of the
      day. For instance, the departure from the norm figure is now reading -5.2c.

      Regards

      Tony Powell

  5. Thanks Tony, that’s interesting stuff. I might do some digging and see if I can find the algorithm as I’d like to know how the range of maximum and minimum temperatures used in the calculation are determined. Cheers

    Finn

  6. It’s felt like that every day this week although I think the bitter wind has had something to do with it too! I heard it’s worse in Europe too, although I couldn’t open the link you left on my blog…

  7. Reading the above comments I am grateful that the corner of North Wales I am currently in has so far escaped the worst of the weather and hope it continues that way! Southern Spain is experiencing similar weather to Portugal- very little seasonal rain so far.

    1. Indeed, even over the space of a few miles, it is amazing how much the local climate differs. Not only does the weather differ but so will the Phenology and as the year progresses I will hopefully be able to illustrate this. Are North Wales green and pleasant land still looking lush? As our region and more particularly the Southeast populace desperately need a climatic change of dreamatic proportions to address our water shortages. Just like Spain I imagine, the topsy turvy climate is not helping nature much. Regardless though, nature can and will win through.

      Kind Regards

      Tony Powell

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