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Observatory reports March was sunniest since 2003

Last month was the sunniest March for 12 years, but drier and rather cooler than average, according to Armagh Observatory.

A total of 137.7 hours of strong sunshine were recorded this month at Armagh, approximately 25% more than the long-term (1881-2010) average March sunshine at Armagh, and more than 40% more than the most recent 30-year (1981-2010) March average. This was the sunniest March since 2003, which had 146.1 hours of strong sunshine, and the eighth sunniest March since sunshine records began at Armagh in 1881.

Total precipitation for the month was 50 mm including 4 trace values. This is approximately 76% of the most recent 30-year (1981-2010) average March precipitation at Armagh, making this March the driest at Armagh since 2012. There were two days (the 2nd and 3rd) with recorded snow cover. The wettest day was the 30th, with a total rainfall of 9.5 mm.

The mean temperature was approximately 5.9 degrees Celsius (42.7 degrees Fahrenheit), slightly warmer than the long-term (1796-2010) mean March temperature at Armagh but 0.74 degrees Celsius cooler than the most recent (1981-2010) average March temperature, which is 6.67 C.

The warmest day (highest maximum air temperature) was 14.4 C on the 19th; the coldest night (lowest minimum air temperature) was -3.3 C on the 18th.

There were several sharp ground frosts, but the coldest occurred on the 25th with a minimum grass temperature of -8.4 C.  There were 21 nights with grass frost and 12 with nighttime air frost.

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