The year finished with the UK enduring the coldest weather of 1996 and, following a cold November, another cold month. The nationwide anomaly of -1.9°C meant that December was relatively speaking the coldest month of 1996, although not as cold as December 1995. Only one December in the last nine years - 1994 - has had daytime temperatures warmer than the average. In relative terms, Scotland was the least cold with anomalies of between -1° and -2°C. The south of England was most anomalous with Exmouth, for example, about 3°C colder than average.
Only a few locations in the northeast of England and Scotland recorded a December rainfall total (including snow) above the average. For the rest of the UK, rainfall was between 30% and 80% of average, the south of England being the driest. The heaviest rain fell on the 3rd and 4th and 18th and 19th of the month. Although there was widespread snow during the last week of the year, in rainfall equivalent terms it did not amount to more than a few mms.
Sunshine totals in December were generally high, especially over Scotland and northern England. Lerwick recorded more than twice its usual high December total, although even this amounted to no more than 1 hour per day. More than half of the month's sunshine occurred during the last 10 days of the month; a nationwide average of 3.5 hours on the 28th being extremely sunny for late December. Like 1995, 1996 in the UK was a sunnier year than average.
Dr Mike Hulme is a Research Climatologist at the University of East Anglia
|Daytime Temperature||1.9°C below average,|
|Rainfall||28% below average;|
|Sunshine||12% above average.|
|Sunniest||Anglesey||78 hours sun|
|Cloudiest||Kinloss||22 hours sun|