Visitors to McGlincheys will be familiar with the weather station we installed in 2012 – the Davis Vantage Pro2 Weather Station is installed just southwest of the McGlincheys Field Centre, and has been recording hourly weather since June 2012. Remarkably, despite the extreme weather we have been experiencing over the last 2 months, the weather station is still standing! During the severe storms, the radio signal from the instruments to the data logger was badly disrupted, so we did have an issue with temporary loss in communication, meaning some gaps in the dataset during December 2013 and January 2014. But we have achieved 97% data completeness since installation, which isn’t bad at all! So, what were the highs and lows (in terms of weather!) of 2013? Below, we provide some summary plots of the weather data recorded at McGlincheys during 2013.
The late arrival of Spring is most evident in the air temperatures, the average of which stayed below 10oC even into May. Solar radiation rose steadily from January and peaked in June, but this largely reflects day length. The maximum outdoor air temperature recorded in 2013 was 28.5oC on the 19th July: the minimum temperature was -6.8oC on 12th March. Temperatures dipped below zero on 32 days in 2013, 12 of which were in March. Similar to Malin Head, December was unseasonably warm, and we recorded a maximum temperature of 15.2oC on the 12th December, and no below zero temperatures were recorded. Atmospheric pressure showed little seasonal pattern, but December was notable for the extreme low of 946.1mbar recorded on the 27th December.
Not surprisingly, December was very wet – 173mm of rain passed through the McGlinchey gauge, but this was only slighter higher than the 156mm recorded in January 2013. These two months were substantially wetter than any other in 2013, and they accounted for 43% of the annual total of 765.4mm. And it seems that west Donegal is notably drier than Malin Head (annual total rainfall = 1143mm) and Belmullet (annual total rainfall = 1056mm).
December was also windy – wind speeds throughout the year averaged around 3-5ms-1 (6.7-11.2mph), but the December average was 7.2ms-1 (16.1mph). These 10-minute averages peaked at 18.8ms-1 (42.1mph) on the 18th December, but the weather station also records maximum gusts during these periods, and the maximum of these – 30ms-1 (67.1mph) – was also registered on the 18th December. Gale force winds (at least 17.5ms-1 (39.1mph)) were recorded on 18 days in December, and 30 other days throughout the year. It might feel like January 2014 has been as wet and windy, but preliminary analysis of the weather record suggests that December was wetter, windier and warmer.
The records show that wind in 2013 was predominately from the west or southeast, but that this varies quite significantly through the year. During the early part of the year, the wind was mainly from the southeast (around 45-54%). In April no specific direction dominated, but in May and June, the wind was mainly from the north and west respectively. Westerlies continued to dominated until September when winds were split between the northwest and southeast. Change continued in October – dominated by southeasterlies, and then November – dominated by westerlies, through to December when storms rolled in primarily from the south and southwest.
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