April drier and colder than average

After the wettest April on record in 2012, provisional full-month Met Office figures show this April has been slightly drier than average in the UK.

Rainfall throughout the UK was 64 mm this year, compared to the 1981-2010 average of 72.7 mm. That’s considerably less than the 128 mm we saw last year.

There were big regional differences in April rainfall this year. Scotland saw 121.2 mm of rain which is above the 91.1 mm average and Northern Ireland saw 75.2mm, almost spot on the 75.0 mm average.

However, both England and Wales saw well below average rainfall. Wales had 50.3mm, compared to an average of 89.3mm, and England saw 30.4mm, compared to an average of 58.7 mm.

The month was characterised by generally cold and dry weather, following on from the theme set in March. Despite this, April registered as only slightly colder than average with a mean UK temperature of 6.3 °C, which is 1.1 °C below the 7.4 °C long-term average.

This is the same mean temperature as recorded in April 2012. To find a colder April than the last two years, you have to go back to 1989 – which saw a mean temperature of 5.5 °C.

Scotland saw the coldest temperatures compared to country specific averages, with a mean temperature of 4.8 °C, which is 1.3 °C below average – and is the same temperature as recorded in 1998.

The warmest day of the month was 25 April at Faversham in Kent when the temperature recorded was 23.1°C.

In terms of sunshine, Scotland was sunnier than the rest of the UK with hours of sunshine totalling 170.9, followed by Northern Ireland with 168.0, England at 167.7 and Wales at 162.7 hours.

This compares with only 127.9 hours of sunshine in April last year throughout the UK. The sunniest April in the last 10 years was 2007 with 203.5 hours.

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall
Apr-13 Actual Diff to Avg Actual Diff to Avg Actual Diff to Avg
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 6.3 -1.1 168.4 114 64 88
England 7.2 -0.9 167.7 108 30.4 52
Wales 6.4 -1.2 162.7 105 50.3 56
Scotland 4.8 -1.3 170.9 127 121.2 133
N Ireland 6.5 -1.1 168 115 75.2 100
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5 Responses to April drier and colder than average

  1. Hello Dave,
    I was waiting to see just how cold April was. Here in West Wales, the effects of a very cold March and cold April – with significant easterly/northerly wind chill , on the landscape, garden and fauna is dramatic. Things are nearly a month behind normal. Really seriously so, with some potential crop growth issues.
    So I am a little confused by your data, which seem to contradict the theme that April was only slightly cooler. Could I ask you to check the figures ” Despite this, April registered as only slightly colder than average with a mean UK temperature of 6.3 °C, which is 1.1 °C below the 6.4 °C long-term average.” and “than the last two years, you have to go back to 1989 – which saw a mean temperature of 5.5 °C.”
    I wondered if you summed the combined effects of April and March temperatures, and maybe even February, where this spring would rank in terms of cold? It is this extended, delayed cold after all, which is adversely influencing normal phenology. Our own light levels from PV generation confirm that the brightness has been there, its just too cold for things to grow.
    Best wishes Julian

    • nuwurld says:

      I will answer you Julian even if the Met don’t. The onset and progression of colder winter periods is invested negatively in the heat content of the regolith. After sustained cold, the soil and therefore root temperatures are inhibited in plants waiting for spring ‘clues’. Most plants including trees are showing limited foliage due to this. This is not just local (as in European), Canada and North America are still in a late planting and limited crop situation. Due to global warming?????

      • Hello nuwurld,
        Thanks for the reply to my comment. I’ll have to look into the regolith – a new term for me. Like you perhaps, I’m wondering about the meteorology of all this and the phenology – I noticed that a phenology page recording the ever earlier signs of spring in the UK… http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/evidence/phenology.shtml … has been left up for reference, but not updated since July 2009 …
        At what point does the official line retreat or change tack on the issue of global warming?
        The climate certainly seems to be changing. Just from where we live it can’t really be considered to be producing the hot mediterranean summers and wet cold winters which we were promised just a few years back? Quite the opposite in fact.

  2. Hello again Dave,
    Thanks for reworking/wording the data from the earlier version which I recorded in my comment above. It now does make sense.
    But by chance today (12/05/2013) I was searching on line for comparative data on March /April temperatures in the UK as suggested in my email above and found that The Met Office has indeed now more recently published this data elsewhere on this site (apparently on May 7th under the ‘Weather’ banner). I wondered whether another blog post to your loyal UK followers might not be appropriate, to supplement the last ones on the Indian Cyclones (May 11th), and the hot temperatures on May Bank Holiday (May 6th)…. to give an even picture of just how cold this spring has actually been here in the UK ? Or just a one liner to point them to this ‘Weather’ article?
    And May seems to be continuing this cold trend, so as yet nothing (plant and hence insect/fauna) is getting a chance to make up the lost ground from earlier in the year.
    Best wishes

    • Dave Britton says:

      Julian, Monthly summaries are issued aroudn 3 to 5 days after the end of each month and placed on the website. These are an ideal way of getting the latest information on the past months weather. Kind regards Dave

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