Hottest winter on record in East Anglia

Winter sunshine at Felixstowe.

Winter sunshine at Felixstowe.

The region has experienced its warmest winter since records began in 1910, forecasters have said.

A record-breaking average temperature of 6.9C (44.4F) was recorded in East Anglia from December to February, higher than the historical average temperature of 4.4C (39F), according to Weatherquest.

The previous warmest winter on record in the region was in 2007.

There were also 196.8 hours of sunshine (6% above average) but the typical daily rainfall (152.1mm) was 3% above average. Meanwhile, there were also 17 days of air frost – 14 days below average and the fifth-lowest since records began.

Dan Holley, forecaster at East-Anglian based Weatherquest, said: “I guess it is not much of a surprise but it is obviously heavily skewed by December, which was incredibly warm.

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“February had 23% above average sunshine but rainfall was 26% below, whereas December was often cloudy because of the Pacific southwesterly flow at the start of the winter meant the warmer air brought in from the Canary Islands or the Azores was often moisture-laden, which meant a lot of cloud.”

Asked if the figures were evidence of global warming, he said: “The last few winters have been fairly mild and stormy, but you don’t have to look too far back to see something from the other end of the spectrum: September 2010 was the coldest September on record, 2009/10 was snowy in some parts of the region, as was the following year, and we had pretty cold weather in the first half of 2013 as well.

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“I guess a lot of the public perception would be that winters are getting incredibly mild and wet, but actually five years ago we had the coldest September on record with a lot of snow and sub-zero temperatures.

“So because they are breaking records at both ends of the spectrum, perhaps winters are getting more extreme but not in any particular direction. They’re just not as close to the averages as what they once were. But it is hard to pinpoint any particular event as global warming at this stage.”

He added that the El Nino weather system – occasional changes in the temperature of the tropical Pacific Ocean – and an area of cold water near Greenland may have been factors behind the warm temperatures.

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