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Sunniest May at Armagh for 82 years

Thursday, 15 June 2017

MAY was exceptionally warm, drier than average and much sunnier, according to Armagh Observatory.  

It was the second warmest May on record at Armagh and the sunniest May for 82 years, that is, since May 1935.  

Taking March, April and May together, it was also the warmest spring on record at Armagh, since the Observatory's daily temperature records began around 1795.

The mean temperature was 13.2 degrees Celsius, approximately 2.6 C warmer than the long-term (1796-2010) average May temperature at Armagh and 2.0 C warmer than the most recent (1981-2010) 30-year average.

This was the second warmest May at Armagh since records began, shared with May 2008 and May 1848. The only warmer May at Armagh is May 1809, which had an average temperature of 13.8 C.

The warmest day (highest maximum air temperature) was 25.7 C, which occurred on May 26, and the second warmest was 24.5 C on May 25.

These were the warmest days of the year so far. The warmest day (May 26) was also the second warmest May day on record at Armagh, the warmest May day at Armagh since May 23, 1989 (26.2 C).

The warmest nights (highest minimum air temperature) occurred on May 16 and 24, both with a highest minimum air temperature of 14.0 C.  

These nights are now the third warmest May nights on record at Armagh, that is since daily maximum/minimum temperature records began at Armagh in 1843.

The two warmer May nights at Armagh are May 29, 1947 (minimum air temperature 15.2 C) and May 24, 1953 (14.1 C). The coolest night (lowest minimum air temperature) was May 10 (3.3 C).

Among the 13 nights during which the grass temperature fell below zero this month there was one quite sharp ground frost, namely that of May 31. This had a minimum grass temperature of -5.7 C. There were no air frosts.

With two exceptions, most of May 2017 was very dry. There were 14 days with no measureable rainfall at all, and total precipitation was just 35.6mm (1.40 inches) with no trace values.  

This is approximately 60% of the long-term (1838-2010) average May rainfall at Armagh, and the driest May at Armagh for nine years, that is, since May 2008.  

The wettest day was May 27, with 8.3mm precipitation (0.33 inches), followed by May 14 with 6.8mm. Ice pellets, followed by small hail, were noted by the observer on May 18.

May was also exceptionally sunny, with a total of 250.2 hours of strong sunshine. This is approximately 32% more than the long-term (1881-2010) average number of hours of strong May sunshine at Armagh, and 44% more than the most recent (1981-2010) 30-year May average.  

The five sunniest days were May 26 (14.6 hours), May 7 (14.5 hours), May 8 (14.4 hours) and May 4 and 25 (with 14.0 hours).

It was the sunniest May at Armagh for 82 years, that is, since May 1935 (251.6 hours), and the third sunniest since sunshine records began at Armagh in April 1880. The sunniest May on record at Armagh is May 1901, which had 254.1 hours of strong sunshine.

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