News / January two degrees warmer than average

Irisies were in full bloom by the end of January. Photo: Shetland News

LAST month’s unseasonably mild weather saw crocuses, irises and snowdrops burst into bloom well ahead of time.

The Met Office has now confirmed that at around two degrees Celsius above average January 2020 was the third warmest January for Shetland since records began in the late 19th century.

With an average mean temperature of 5.6C (at Lerwick and Baltasound) January 2020 was also the warmest since 1989 when the mean temperature was a full degree higher.

Temperatures in January were above average across the UK. Image: Met Office

Whether the mild January is yet another sign of climate change having an impact on the local weather pattern, or whether this is just a blip, is anyone’s guess.

When asked, Fair Isle based weatherman Dave Wheeler described it as “a weather blip probably enhanced by climate change”.


He added: “It’s noticeable in many of the models showing possible warming over the coming decades the NE Atlantic shows the least warming.”

Looking back through his data going back to 1974, Wheeler said that at 6.7 degrees Celsius January 2020 was the second warmest since his records began.

While the highest temperature on Fair Isle last month was 10.5 degrees, he said the lack of really cold temperatures throughout the month was of greater interest to him.

At +1.6 degrees Celsius, last month’s minimum temperature measured on Fair Isle was the highest minimum since 1974, he said.

“Through January 2020 I’ve only reported one day with a ground frost – on the morning of the 29th – and only seen a few flakes of snow on one day, with some hail or sleet on a couple more days,” he said.

Wheeler’s data also corresponded with those gathered by Bob Skinley, who observes the weather from Gulberwick.

He said that according to his records, which go back ten years, January 2020 had been the mildest with an average temperature of 7.5 degrees, while there were two days where the mercury rose above the 10-degree mark.

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