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Spring 2020 sunnier than all but three summers


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I was reading in The Times today that Spring 2020, as well as breaking the all time Spring record for sunshine, was also sunnier than all but three Summers since 1929, those of 1976, 1995 and 1989. The first two I can believe from my own experience but 1989....? Was that a particularly sunny Summer? I don't recall it as such.    

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Yes, 1989 is often the "forgotten sunny summer" because it was not generally as hot as 1976 or 1995.  The May-August period of 1989 was the sunniest of all, bolstered by a record-breaking sunny May with over 300 hours in parts of the south (although May 2020 surpassed even May 1989).  June 1989 was changeable early and late but had a prolonged sunny spell in the middle, and July 1989 was generally a warm/hot dry sunny month, and particularly sunny in many northern parts of Britain.  August 1989 had a NW-SE split with the NW turning cloudier and more changeable, but much of central, southern and eastern England holding onto sunny weather for most of the month.  I have very vague memories of a summer in my early childhood in South Shields when it seemed to be sunny almost every day for a long period, and I used to track the shadows as they were moving around with the sun position.  The statistics suggest that it was probably that period from early May through to mid-August 1989.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Looking at local met office near me gives spring 2020 609 hrs of sunshine

A quick look has1911,1933,1935,1949,1959,1975,1976,1989 and1995 all above 616 hrs

The sunniest 3 months being 1911 way out in front with 709 hrs,1976 being 674hrs.

Interesting how 2018 is almost the sunniest at 701 hrs if you count the 3 months of May,June and July!

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2 hours ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

Yes, 1989 is often the "forgotten sunny summer" because it was not generally as hot as 1976 or 1995.  The May-August period of 1989 was the sunniest of all, bolstered by a record-breaking sunny May with over 300 hours in parts of the south (although May 2020 surpassed even May 1989).  June 1989 was changeable early and late but had a prolonged sunny spell in the middle, and July 1989 was generally a warm/hot dry sunny month, and particularly sunny in many northern parts of Britain.  August 1989 had a NW-SE split with the NW turning cloudier and more changeable, but much of central, southern and eastern England holding onto sunny weather for most of the month.  I have very vague memories of a summer in my early childhood in South Shields when it seemed to be sunny almost every day for a long period, and I used to track the shadows as they were moving around with the sun position.  The statistics suggest that it was probably that period from early May through to mid-August 1989.

As a 13 year old, 1989 was the warmest and sunny summer from my childhood, and one I still remember vividly. 1983 and 84 come to mind for their hot summers, but 1989 was the first summer I was old enough to remember.

1990 was also hot and sunny, but slightly cooler in June. 
 

1989, 1990 and 1995 are classic sunny summers. Spring 2020 probably matches it, but if the summer of 2020 ends of dull and cool, it won’t be remembered as much. 

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How has summer 2003 not made it onto the list? It recorded 714.7 hours in London (vs 692.0 this spring), and 2003 remains the sunniest year on record there, with 2003.5 hours (against a LTA of 1632.6 hours). 1990 doesn't make it as it had a record breaking cloudy June (at the time).

Some other notably sunny summers in London. The LTA is 621.0 hours.

1959: 748.5 hours

1976: 788.4 hours

1989: 800.4 hours

1995: 730.1 hours

Edited by B87
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13 minutes ago, B87 said:

How has summer 2003 not made it onto the list? It recorded 714.7 hours in London (vs 692.0 this spring), and 2003 remains the sunniest year on record there.

If you are talking Heathrow? 1995 was sunnier with 730.7 hours and 1976 beating both with 788.4 hours

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i was going to say i remember August 1995 being exceptionally sunny and the figures bear this out with it recording 296 hrs ..which is a lot esp as you heading into shortening days.

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10 minutes ago, cheeky_monkey said:

If you are talking Heathrow? 1995 was sunnier with 730.7 hours and 1976 beating both with 788.4 hours

Was it not sunny everywhere else as well? 1959 was sunnier than 1995.

1989 was the sunniest summer in London, 2003 was the sunniest year.

Edited by B87
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Posted (edited)

2003 was officially the sunniest year on record for the UK but its summer, though generally sunnier than average, was not as exceptionally sunny as the spring or autumn, hence failing to make it into the top four.  The periods January-April and September/October were the most exceptionally sunny.

Yes August 1995 was an exceptionally sunny month almost nationwide - percentages of the 1961-1990 average included 158 at Heathrow, 160 at Durham, 172 at Glasgow Airport and 174 at Manchester Airport. 

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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TWS makes a good point that 89 stands out in the CET and sunshine records for being an 18C+ month and very sunny however unfortunately a lot of summers are defined by what sorounds them. 89 is a bit forgotten because of 90 in the same way that 03 is a bit underrated because of 06.

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1989 was a very sunny May. June and especially July brought more sunny warm weather. It does get forgotten about against summer 90. May and June 92 also very sunny warm months. Summer 89, 90 and 95 best summers of my younger years. Summer 94 also very warm but much wetter, bit like 97.

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To my mind it's quite surprising that summer 1989 gets forgotten against summer 1990, as June 1990 was pretty dull and cool, and July 1990 was not as warm as July 1989 despite being comparably sunny.  The record-breaking (at the time) early August 1990 heatwave is probably the reason why 1990 gets remembered more, but even so, August 1990, like August 1989, was a NW-SE split month sunshine wise, and averaged nationally August 1989 was sunnier than August 1990.

The good summers of 1994 and 1996 being forgotten by comparison with that of 1995 is much easier to understand.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

To my mind it's quite surprising that summer 1989 gets forgotten against summer 1990, as June 1990 was pretty dull and cool, and July 1990 was not as warm as July 1989 despite being comparably sunny.  The record-breaking (at the time) early August 1990 heatwave is probably the reason why 1990 gets remembered more, but even so, August 1990, like August 1989, was a NW-SE split month sunshine wise, and averaged nationally August 1989 was sunnier than August 1990.

The good summers of 1994 and 1996 being forgotten by comparison with that of 1995 is much easier to understand.

Summer 96 was decent as you say but pales notably against the high watermark of 95.

Interesting to note decent / very good summers have come in clusters, 89-91, 94-96, 03-06, 13-16, 18-? likewise poor summers, 85-88  97-02, 07-12

Edited by damianslaw
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44 minutes ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

To my mind it's quite surprising that summer 1989 gets forgotten against summer 1990, as June 1990 was pretty dull and cool, and July 1990 was not as warm as July 1989 despite being comparably sunny.  The record-breaking (at the time) early August 1990 heatwave is probably the reason why 1990 gets remembered more, but even so, August 1990, like August 1989, was a NW-SE split month sunshine wise, and averaged nationally August 1989 was sunnier than August 1990.

The good summers of 1994 and 1996 being forgotten by comparison with that of 1995 is much easier to understand.

I certainly havn't forgotten 1989 which in these parts was very similar to 1984 and 1983.With the exception of 1995 all three of those 80s summers were better than any summer we have had since and on par with 2018

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11 hours ago, hillbilly said:

I certainly havn't forgotten 1989 which in these parts was very similar to 1984 and 1983.With the exception of 1995 all three of those 80s summers were better than any summer we have had since and on par with 2018

Looking back at the records it's hard to imagine the summer of 1984 was as good as 2018. Maybe in Halifax it was, but the records for Manchester suggest otherwise. There's no doubt that August 1984 was better than August 2018, but the rest of the summer 2018 wins hands down. June 1983 was also very average in these parts.

For me a good June will always trump a good August due to the height of the sun, vibrant plants and trees etc.

It's also important to remember with 2018 that there was an also an excellent May which was a very summery month- the period from early May to the first week of August was truly exceptional for warmth and sunshine. There was nothing quite like that in any of those years in the 80s, although perhaps 1989 comes closest in terms of duration.

 

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37 minutes ago, Scorcher said:

Looking back at the records it's hard to imagine the summer of 1984 was as good as 2018. Maybe in Halifax it was, but the records for Manchester suggest otherwise. There's no doubt that August 1984 was better than August 2018, but the rest of the summer 2018 wins hands down. June 1983 was also very average in these parts.

 

 

Personally, the summer of 2018 was actually May to mid July, the second half of July 2018 wasn't as "good" and August 2018 had its moments but it was the least "impressive" of the summer rmonths.

Manchester summer index which covers the meterological summer months says

2018: 272

1984: 271

 

 

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58 minutes ago, Weather-history said:

Personally, the summer of 2018 was actually May to mid July, the second half of July 2018 wasn't as "good" and August 2018 had its moments but it was the least "impressive" of the summer rmonths.

Manchester summer index which covers the meterological summer months says

2018: 272

1984: 271

 

 

Yes as you say, the 2018 summer index suffered due to the rather more average August. Also I imagine a hot August will boost the summer index more than a relatively hot June due to the fact that overall temperatures will be higher with thermal lag etc.

The summer index is limited to meteorological summer so perhaps does 2018 a disservice in that respect. I may have asked you this before, but have you calculated a theoretical 'summer' index for May, June and July in 2018? That would be interesting to see.

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2 hours ago, Scorcher said:

Yes as you say, the 2018 summer index suffered due to the rather more average August. Also I imagine a hot August will boost the summer index more than a relatively hot June due to the fact that overall temperatures will be higher with thermal lag etc.

The summer index is limited to meteorological summer so perhaps does 2018 a disservice in that respect. I may have asked you this before, but have you calculated a theoretical 'summer' index for May, June and July in 2018? That would be interesting to see.

I mentioned at the time that May-July 2018 had an index of 296

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1 hour ago, Weather-history said:

I mentioned at the time that May-July 2018 had an index of 296

Yes quite exceptional really- thanks for that. I believe it would have only just been behind 1995 and 1976 if that had been the summer.

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10 hours ago, Scorcher said:

Looking back at the records it's hard to imagine the summer of 1984 was as good as 2018. Maybe in Halifax it was, but the records for Manchester suggest otherwise. There's no doubt that August 1984 was better than August 2018, but the rest of the summer 2018 wins hands down. June 1983 was also very average in these parts.

For me a good June will always trump a good August due to the height of the sun, vibrant plants and trees etc.

It's also important to remember with 2018 that there was an also an excellent May which was a very summery month- the period from early May to the first week of August was truly exceptional for warmth and sunshine. There was nothing quite like that in any of those years in the 80s, although perhaps 1989 comes closest in terms of duration.

 

I thought we are talking about Summer,not spring.From memory I would say 1984 was the best followed very closely by 1989,2018 and 1983 last as I think it had an indifferent June.I have looked at the records here which puts all 4 quite close with temps,rainfall and sunshine.If we are going to throw May in then yes 2018 might top the list but it would only beat 1989 by split hairs.I really don't know why you rate 1984 so low but The Summer index Weather history has produced put them on a par like I initially said.

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1984 is better than 

10 minutes ago, hillbilly said:

I thought we are talking about Summer,not spring.From memory I would say 1984 was the best followed very closely by 1989,2018 and 1983 last as I think it had an indifferent June.I have looked at the records here which puts all 4 quite close with temps,rainfall and sunshine.If we are going to throw May in then yes 2018 might top the list but it would only beat 1989 by split hairs.I really don't know why you rate 1984 so low but The Summer index Weather history has produced put them on a par like I initially said.

1984 is better than I first realised but the summer index doesn't tell the whole story in this case. I wasn't born in 1984 so only have statistics to go off. Of course a hot August is going to inflate the summer index more than a very warm June as the overall temps will be higher- after all an average August would be a very warm June. I just think that last week of June in 2018 was one of the most memorable summer weeks I can remember.

May isn't meteorological summer of course but much of May actually has stronger sun than much of August. No one could claim that a sunny and hot last week in August feels more summery than a hot final week of May. 

If the 'summer index' in 2018 was May to July it would have been 296 which would have been almost on a par with 1976. 

 

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On 03/06/2020 at 23:28, damianslaw said:

1989 was a very sunny May. June and especially July brought more sunny warm weather. It does get forgotten about against summer 90. May and June 92 also very sunny warm months. Summer 89, 90 and 95 best summers of my younger years. Summer 94 also very warm but much wetter, bit like 97.

Summer 94 was hot, between the coolish start to June, and the unsettled August. It was a thundery summer. 
 

I never rated 97 for some reason. It seemed dull and muggy at times. 

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13 hours ago, Scorcher said:

1984 is better than 

1984 is better than I first realised but the summer index doesn't tell the whole story in this case. I wasn't born in 1984 so only have statistics to go off. Of course a hot August is going to inflate the summer index more than a very warm June as the overall temps will be higher- after all an average August would be a very warm June. I just think that last week of June in 2018 was one of the most memorable summer weeks I can remember.

May isn't meteorological summer of course but much of May actually has stronger sun than much of August. No one could claim that a sunny and hot last week in August feels more summery than a hot final week of May. 

If the 'summer index' in 2018 was May to July it would have been 296 which would have been almost on a par with 1976. 

 

Maybe I am different to most people on here as I could never call May a summer month.My summers being brought up as a farmer are based on making hay.Nowadays if the weather is poor farmers make sileage and tend to cut it earlier in May but unlike hay it doesn't need to be dry.Not as much hay is made these days but going back in time it was all hay which we have always started mid to late June and can go on to late August or even September depending on the weather.Having said that if this year ends up with a poor summer it at least would feel like we have had something.I also have to disagree about August,for me it is a summer month more than May despite daylength and we are desperately short of good Augusts these days,the great Augusts in the past were amazing,1984,1989,1995,1997 and our last great one 2003.

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Definitely with you on wanting a great August- even the good summers of recent times haven't tended to have great Augusts.

We had that hot spell in late August last year which was most welcome. However it didn't feel like 'high summer' to me despite being hot. I start to notice a difference in the sun's strength after mid month.

 

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1 hour ago, Scorcher said:

Definitely with you on wanting a great August- even the good summers of recent times haven't tended to have great Augusts.

We had that hot spell in late August last year which was most welcome. However it didn't feel like 'high summer' to me despite being hot. I start to notice a difference in the sun's strength after mid month.

 

August 2016 and 2019 were easily the best ones since 2003, but even they weren't particularly amazing months. We are well overdue a 1995 or 2003 repeat for August.

Since the last great August in 2003, we've had a warm July in 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019. Why is it so hard for August to be good these days?

Hopefully we will see a return to more traditional Augusts now (ie July with shorter days), with 2016, 2018 and 2019 all being more decent.

Edited by B87
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