The McGlinchey Weather Station has been operating now for over 2 ½ years which is allowing us to build a growing archive of weather data that will be used to understand more about the delicate balance between water and habitats across the Sheskinmore catchment. We continued to have a few issues with sensor to data logger communication throughout early 2014, but with some new batteries and a new position for the logger, we now have a more stable connection and fewer gaps in the data record. The weather station has certainly been put through its paces again this year, and we hope it continues to perform well long into the future.
The broad seasonality of weather recorded in 2013 continues in 2014. January through to March was relatively cold, as has been December, but there was a less pronounced peak in mid-summer temperatures than in 2013. The maximum temperature recorded was 25.1°C, more than 3°C below the peak temperature in July 2013. But 2014 was, on average, warmer than 2013 – and this was reflected across Ireland which experienced its warmest year for the last seven years*. This was also shown in the significant drop in frost days from 32 in 2013 to just three in 2014. The temperatures during 2014 are a little more typical of a maritime climate, where shifts between summer and winter are less pronounced due to coastal breezes and higher salinity.
Very little seasonality is evident in the atmospheric pressure record, but an extreme low of 946.1mbar was recorded on the 8th February, less than two months after the extreme low at the end of December 2013. Since March 2014 however, atmospheric pressure has averaged above 1000mbar, and the year ended on a relative high of 1013mb (December median).
2014 was slightly wetter than 2013, with an annual total rainfall of 893.2mm (compared to 765.4mm in 2013). Again, these figures are substantially lower than recorded at the Met Éireann weather stations in the north west (Malin Head – 1213.1mm and Finner (Ballyshannon) – 1230.3mm). It is possible that the McGlinchey weather station is under-estimating rainfall during windy periods when rain fails to reach the measuring balance: this has been noted at other small-scale, independent weather station sites. Rainfall was evenly distributed across the winter months – February was the wettest month (153.8mm), followed by October (151.2mm) and January (145.2mm). September was particularly dry, again evidenced across Ireland*: this resulted in a drought where <0.2mm daily rainfall was recorded for 16 consecutive days (a period >15 days is classed as an absolute drought).
Only a weak seasonality in wind climate is evident at Sheskinmore – and much like 2013, wind speeds recorded throughout 2014 averaged around 3-5ms-1 (6.7-11.2mph). February and December stand out as having an average >5ms-1, but on average, 2014 was not quite as windy as 2013. This is evident in the lower average (3.8ms-1) and maximum (16.1ms-1) 10-minute average wind speeds recorded in 2014 in comparison to 2013 (4.2ms-1 and 18.8ms-1 respectively). Surprisingly then, gale force winds (at least 17.5ms-1 (39.1mph)) were recorded more often in 2014 – on a total of 56 days (compared to 48 days in 2013).
The wind climate of 2014 was again dominated by winds from the west. Last years weather summary showed that the 2013 wind climate also comprised a significant southeasterly component. Superimposed on the 2014 wind rose here, the dashed red line shows the distribution of wind directions recorded in 2013 and this clearly shows a significant reduction in easterly winds in 2014. This is balanced by an increase in westerly, southwesterly and to a lesser extent north-northeasterly winds.
Seasonality in the wind climate is limited, but northerly winds were more frequent during the summer months and southerly winds more frequent during the winter. But the easterly and westerly components vary throughout the year. Stronger winds are from the south and west, weaker winds are from the north and east.
If you are involved in monitoring and collecting species data at Sheskinmore, please do get in contact if you would like to compare your emergence/flowering/productivity data with the weather data.
* Summary of weather conditions across Ireland from Met Éireann, reported in the Irish Times on 5-Jan-14 http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/last-year-was-one-of-warmest-on-record-in-ireland-1.2055389
Monthly climate summary for Malin Head http://www.met.ie/climate/monthly-data.asp?Num=1575
Monthly climate summary for Finner http://www.met.ie/climate/monthly-data.asp?Num=2075