Ransom Stats #9

Always winter never Christmas 

So spring has finally sprung. The shorts have come out, the BBQ's on order and for a brief moment everything seems just that little bit more bearable. Our cheeks are flushed with sunburn and the winter coats are now a distant memory. But with more cold weather just around the corner – it may well be here by the time you read this – do we really have any room to complain compared with the rest of the world and is the most British of subjects, the weather, really anything to write home about.
According to the Met office, temperatures in March made it the UK's joint second coldest – 1962 took first prize at a staggering 1.9C (35F) – since records began over a 100 years ago. With a mean temperature of just 2.2C (36F) it was more than 3C colder than the monthly average, matching that of March 1947. On the other end of the scale the MO puts the hottest March at a t-shirt enticing 25.6C in 1968, not bad when you consider the all time average high was 38.5C in August 2003.
But how do we compare with the rest of the world? Let's start with the lows.  The coldest air temperature on record was at Vostok research station in Antarctica on July 21st 1983. Located near the South Geomagnetic Pole, and at a height of around 3,500m they clocked in an impressive -89.2C.  In contrast to this the hottest recorded temperature on earth was in El Azizia, Libya on September 13, 1922.  The temperature recorded was a mercury baiting 57.7 C (or 136 Fahrenheit).  Pretty incredible when you think it's only an an hour by car from the Mediterranean Sea.
And that's just the extremes, I could easily talk about Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia where the air temperature rarely rises above -16C or the Eureka research base on Canada's far-northern Ellesmere Island where the average annual air temperature is around -20C. When you put those figures in the mix, maybe the UK's not so bad after all.
Ian Pither (Ransom Statistician)