January sees record high pressure and plenty of sunshine

UNSEASONABLE weather has affected the Channel Islands this January.

On Monday, the Met Office recorded ‘exceptionally high atmospheric pressure, giving each of the Channel Islands their highest recorded figures since 1905’.

London experienced its highest recorded air pressure since 1692 overnight on Sunday, at 1,049.6mb.

On Monday a pressure of 1049.2mb was recorded in Guernsey, and 1049.8 in Alderney.

Daffodils in bloom at St Saviour’s Church. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 26916577)

‘Mild Atlantic air for the first 18 days kept our temperatures well above average. An intense belt of high pressure then settled over the UK, with temperatures falling to just below average,’ said Chris Archard, senior Met Office observer.

Initially, it looked like it was going to be a warm January.

‘Sunshine totals picked up and it was for four days. We recorded a maximum of 12.7C on 14 January, the highest recorded figure for that date,’ Mr Archard said.

‘We saw eight hours of sunshine on the 19th, the highest equal with 2017 for that date,’ Mr Archard said.

‘Our highest maximum January temperature stands at 13.3C, recorded on 4 January 1947 and again on 9 January 2007.

‘Our sunniest January day was 30 January in 1987 with 8.8 hours.’

Cobo at sunset. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 26966660)

High pressure led to frosty mornings.

‘We then saw a record high air pressure reading of 1049.2mb at 10.23am on Monday, beating the previous January reading of 1045.9mb from the 30th in 1989 and indeed our highest ever recorded reading at the airport, which was previously 1047.7mb on 3 March 1990,’ said Mr Archard.

High pressure usually means stable, clear weather.

‘Our weather looks dry and settled for a few more days, but charts for next week suggest a return to a more unsettled regime,’ Mr Archard said.

Having an early onset spring affects migration of birds, insects and sea life.

‘It’s not the temperature here that affects the time of migration, but the temperature and weather conditions where the birds or insects come from,’ said Dr Andrew Casebow, president of La Societe Guernesiaise.

‘What climate does affect here is the availability of food when the birds arrive. If they come early, leaving areas further south due to higher temperatures, and we are in a cold spell there might be no food available.’

Climate change leads to environmental disruption.

Sunset at Chouet.(Picture by Peter Frankland, 26955050)

‘The climate affects birds nesting and the rearing of young, which is becoming earlier as temperatures rise. But this must coincide with the emergence the food source for the chicks. With global warming these might not coincide,’ Dr Casebow said.

Unseasonable weather can be fatal to wildlife species and our environment.

‘The flowering date of spring flowering plants is affected by temperature in the period immediately preceding flowering,’ Dr Casebow said.

‘Nigel Jee kept diaries of the flowering dates of all the flowers in his extensive gardens for over 25 years. That flowering date of each variety was affected by temperature to the extent that some spring flowering plants now flower at least three weeks earlier than they did in the 1980s.’

Adapting to changing temperatures is now required to sustain life.

‘Marine species are affected, as food sources such as sand eels move northwards as the seas warm,’ said Dr Casebow. ‘The continuing warming of our climate will only exacerbate these effects.’

Sunshine on Fort Grey. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 26949558)

Dr Casebow published a booklet in 2007 titled Planet Guernsey explaining much of this. An e-copy is available on the La Societe website.

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