The winter weather of 2011/12

Mean air temperatures for the season were between 1.2°C and 2.0°C above normal, with all three months of Winter recording above average air temperatures for the time of year. Mean air temperatures recorded in the west and southwest were the highest relative to normal, with Shannon Airport and Belmullet reporting their warmest winter since 1989 (23 years). Knock Airport reported a seasonal mean temperature of 5.5°C, its highest winter mean temperature since the station
opened in 1996 (16 years). Most other stations across the country reported that it was not as warm as the winters of 2007/2008. Mean maximum and mean minimum temperatures were all above average, with the majority of minimum air and grass temperatures for Winter were recorded during the cold spell at the start of February. Most lowest minimum air and grass temperatures especially in the south and southwest were the highest in the number of years, with Valentia Observatory
reporting an Winter air temperature of 1.7°C and a Winter grass minimum of -3.1°C, the highest recorded at the site since 1939 (73 years)
and 1989 (23 years), respectively.

Other stations in the area reported their highest minimums in five to 17 years. Majority of rainfall totals were below normal for Winter across the southern half of the country and in some parts of the east. Rainfall totals were below average in the majority of these parts during December and January, while all stations reported dry conditions in February. Most stations the east and south reported a below average number of wet days (days with 1 mm or more) and the driest Winter since 2006 (6 years). Highest daily falls were recorded at various times, mainly on December 12th and January 29th, with the daily falls recorded at stations in the south and southwest being the lowest in six to 15 years.

Percentage of normal sunshine values for Winter were nearly all below normal. Below average totals were recorded during all three months of the season except at Dublin Airport, where above normal sunshine was recorded during December, January and February leading to a slightly above normal value for the season.
Stations in the southwest reported the lowest amount of sunshine hours and sunshine relative to normal, with Valentia Observatory and Shannon Airport both reporting their lowest winter sunshine since sunshine records began at the stations in 1939 (73 years) and 1945 (67 years), respectively. Other stations reported it
was the dullest winter in 16 to 20 years, with Dublin Airport, who had above average sunshine this season, reporting it was the dullest winter since 2006.

Source Met Eireann

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