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Winter 2011/12

The following represents a provisional assessment of the weather experienced across the UK during winter 2011 / 2012 (December 2011 to February 2012) and how it compares with the 1971 to 2000 averages.

Mean temperatures over the UK were 0.6 °C above average during December, 1.3 °C above in January and 0.7 °C above in February. The UK mean temperature for the winter was 4.5 °C, much milder than the last three winters, and comparable with several other mild winters since 2000.  December was generally mild, especially across southern areas. After a mostly mild January, the last few days saw the onset of a cold spell that lasted 2 weeks with some sharp frosts and snowfalls, especially over England. Mild weather then returned until the end of February. Over Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was the mildest February since 1998, and one of the mildest on record.

Precipitation amounts over the UK were above average during December (134% of average) but below in both January (90%) and February (63%). The UK winter total was very close to average, but there were marked regional variations. The Northern Isles and north-west Scotland received about 130% of normal, but much of east Scotland, eastern, central and southern England recorded less than 75% of normal. In northern and western Scotland, December was one of the wettest in the last 100 years. Many counties in eastern and southern England and eastern Scotland had a dry January and particularly dry February. Over England, it was the driest February since 1998 generally, and East Anglia and Lincolnshire had one of their driest Februarys on record

Sunshine durations over the UK were close to average during December (108% of average), above in January (135%) and close to average again in February (101%). The UK winter total was somewhat above average. Each month the eastern half of the UK tended to be sunnier than normal and the dullest areas were to the north-west, especially in December and February. Provisionally, eastern England and the Midlands enjoyed one of their sunniest winters on record, whereas Northern Ireland had one of its dullest.

UK statistical summary
Mean temperature Rainfall Sunshine
The provisional mean value is 4.5 °C, which is 0.9 °C above the 1971-2000 average. The provisional total is 330 mm, which is 99% of the 1971-2000 average. The provisional total is 167 hours, which is 113% of the 1971-2000 average.

Provisional graph of UK daily mean temperature for Winter 2011/12 (December, January and February)


Provisional mean temperature anomaly (difference from average) map for Winter 2011/12 (December, January and February)


Provisional rainfall percent of average map for Winter 2011/12 (December, January and February)


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