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Will we look back at July 2018 and remember it had just one day without sunshine?

July sun-burst  [Photo: Eric Gilbert]July sun-burst [Photo: Eric Gilbert]What a month! With 249 hours of strong sunshine in Marlborough - which was more than double the average for the past few years - and so little rain, July 2018 could rightly be called a real summer month.


There was only one day without sunshine - July 29.  On many days the total hours of sunshine rose into double figures, the highest being 15.84 hours on July 8 - closely followed by 15.72 hours on July 7.

The result of so much strong sunshine (which is when the instrument detects that the strength is greater than 100watts/sq. metre) was to boost the temperature so that there were only two days when the maximum was below average. The coolest day, July 29 produced a maximum of only 19.1C being 3.1C below the average.

 

The peak days were 30.4C and 30.1C on July 26 and July 8 respectively when the average was 22.25C.  Although the mean temperature for July was 2.8C above the 34-year average it was principally down to so many hot days as many nights were quite cool. 

The analysis shows that the mean maximum was 4.6C above average whereas the mean minimum was only 0.9C above average.  The coolest night gave a reading of 9.0C when the average was 11.7C.

July 2018 was the second hottest since my records began in 1984 - just 0.3C lower than the record set in 2006.

The second major feature of July was the lack of rainfall. It was the fifth driest July since my records began in 1984 with just 25.1mm of rainfall when the average was 60.9mm.   The contrasting years were 10.1mm in 1999 and 127.2mm in 2007. 

The month produced 24 dry days, with the wettest bringing a welcome 11.5mm on July 28.

Not only was it a very dry month, the equivalent rainfall lost to the atmosphere through evaporation from ground sources and plant life was 123mm.

 

Analysing the rainfall for June and July I find that the combined rainfall for both months was 85mm below the 34-year average.  This only tells half the story, as the combined loss through evaporation was 233mm.

There were three days in July when fog formed overnight.  It quickly dispersed as the sun got to work. Thunder was heard on one day.

Many struggled though the very hot days, but often were reluctant to complain as we very rarely get such a good summer. 

Perhaps this brief quotation from the American writer Russell Baker sums it up: “Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it”.  And he has seen many summers - he's aged 92.

There are more details on my website




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