Midsummer gloom cast pall on 2012 weather


Last June was among the most miserable months in Irish weather history, recording both the wettest and darkest conditions since records began.

Met Éireann yesterday released its annual overview for 2012, illustrating a year of summer storms, yet one illuminated by unusually high temperatures in March.

“The year was fairly average overall but there were seasonal differences,” said climatologist David Fitzgerald.

“Summer was wetter and colder than average, but not an awful lot. And winter was slightly above normal .”

However, the notion of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns is dismissed; we may have anomalies and seasonal oddities but only 30- year averages give an accurate picture of overall behaviour.

Gloomy June

The wettest and darkest days of the year were recorded in traditionally sunny June, where the onset of the Leaving Cert usually guarantees a fine spell. Not so in 2012 with 99.5mm of rain falling during one day alone in Co Leitrim.

“June was extremely wet, with many rainfall totals in the eastern half of the country nearly triple their LTAs [long term averages] and the majority of stations across the country reporting it as their wettest June on record,” the report said.

The month also produced the lowest sunshine levels for the year, with Cork Airport reporting its dullest June since the station opened in 1962.

October was the coldest month overall, with mean temperatures as low as minus two degrees below average.

Coldest day

However, February held the dubious honour of producing the year’s coldest day, standing at -6.7 degrees in both Co Kilkenny and Co Monaghan at the beginning of the month.

A number of stations in Dublin and in the west and southwest of the country found March to be at its warmest level in 50 years.

The highest temperatures for the year were recorded in the two months either side of June, as well as in August. The highest, at 28.3 degrees, was in Ardfert, Co Kerry, on May 25th.

Other stations in the west and southwest also reported their highest maximum temperatures on the same day.

March too proved to be the driest month of 2012, in a year when rainfall levels nearly everywhere remained at average levels or rose slightly above.

Sunshine levels were found to be slightly below average across the board. The fastest gust of wind last year was measured at 91 knots, or 168 km/h, at Malin Head on January 3rd, the joint highest in the station’s 56-year history.

Overall, the World Meteorological Organisation said that provisional global temperatures in 2012 were the ninth highest on record since records began in 1850.