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Gordon Hensman's Weatherview

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

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THE Black Country – Birthplace of Industrial Revolution

Weather in DUDLEY

1st – 10th March 2014


This was a very mild period, for the first ten days of spring, following a very mild winter. Total precipitation was slightly below average. Once again winds were almost entirely from the south and west bringing mild Atlantic air to our shores.


1. Mean maximum 11.6, 53F

2. Anomaly +3.5

3. Mean minimum 3.5, 38.5F

4. Anomaly +1.0

5. Average of max. & min. 7.5, 45.5F

6. Anomaly +2.2

7. Highest/date 17.2, 63F 9th

8. Lowest/date -0.6, 31F 1st

9. Days with air frost 1

10. Days with grass frost 6

11. Lowest grass/date -3.9, 25F 1st

12. Mean 30cm soil depth 6.1, 43F


13. Days with rain/snow 4

14. Total fall 15.4mm

15. Percentage of normal 85%

16. Wettest day 8.2mm 2nd

17. Days with snow falling 0

18. Days with snow lying 9h 0

19. Deepest snow 0


20. Relative Humidity at 9h 82%


21. Average 9h 1011mb

22. Highest/date 1030mb 10th

23. Lowest/date 982mb 3rd


23. N 0, NE 1,E 0, SE 0, S 5, SW 0, W 3, NW 0, CALM 1


The World Meteorological Organisation announced last month that 2013 was amongst the top ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850. Thirteen of the fourteen warmest years have now occurred in the twenty first century, with the warmest years being 2010 and 2005.

Now it's a certainty that there will be some readers who will still cast doubt on the science behind this, so they would do well to be aware of the sources of this information.

Sources: 1. Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit; 2. European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF); 3. US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); 4. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

They all use slightly different methods to calculate global temperatures and therefore their results differ slightly, but they all agree on the upward trend.


An 8 minute video can be found on http:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2Gy8V0Dv78

EUMETSAT – The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, has complied a video of an entire year of satellite imagery, collected by European, American and Japanese geostationary satellites to show what the weather in 2013 looked like from space.


The University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit have released their global temperature records. The data set is called CRUTEM4, and is the fourth version of their land surface air temperature records. Using Google Earth enables any person to access the data from all over the world from 6,000 weather stations, giving statistics on monthly, seasonal and annual temperature records going back as far as 1850. http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data.crutem.ge


According to Met Eireann (Irish Met Service), one of their weather buoys moored off the north-west coast of Ireland had measured a record-breaking wave this winter. On 26th of January 2014 at 1500utc, a massive wave was measured at 23.4m. This was 3m higher than their previous record, set in 2011. The very stormy conditions in the region were linked to a whole string of very deep depressions crossing this area of the North Atlantic. This record wave resulted from a very deep depression, with a central pressure of 954mb, at 0000utc on 27th January.


You may recall that after British Scientists, based in Antarctica, discovered the menace of the man-made ozone-hole high up in the atmosphere. There was eventually world-wide agreement at the Montreal Protocol, to phase out the use of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) which were used as coolants in fridges. This family of gases was responsible for the destruction of the layer of ozone high up, which prevents killing ultraviolet rays from the sun reaching the ground, and destroying living organisms.

Gaps or holes in this protective layer formed around both poles allowing lethal UV rays to pass through, and it was thought that by now these holes should be closing up.

Now we find that four banned types of CFCs have been detected, and their levels are rising quickly. However, little can be done to prevent this until it is discovered who is emitting these dangerous gases.


Last year the Geological Survey, based in Keyworth, Nottingham, revealed that there is enough gas in the shale rocks of one area of Northern England to supply our needs for the next 40 years. Of course, it would be impossible to extract all of it.

We now know that there are also extensive deposits in the south – particularly the Kimmeridge Clay, stretching from Dorset north-north-eastwards to the east coast of England, and the Oxford Clay, as well as in the Weald of Sussex and Kent.


Last December and January were an extremely stormy two months, and also the wettest two month period since comprehensive national records began in 1910. This period was also the wettest since 1876-77 across England and Wales, and at least the second wettest since records began in 1776.

The Central England Temperature Series is the longest temperature record in the world and was started in 1659.


14th 1964 This was the date of one of the worst disasters to afflict walkers in this country. To many readers it may appear to be a bit odd that anyone would want to go on lengthy walks – well, it's your loss if you don't understand. Every weekend thousands of walkers take to the hills to get away from the built-up urban environment, and come to terms with the natural environment which is the basis of all our lives.

Derby Scouts Four Inns Walk started in steady rain with a strong cold wind. The driving rain turned to snow and in the blizzard one of the scouts – only nineteen – collapsed and died. Two others – twenty four and twenty one – went missing. The body of one was found the next day and the following day the body of the other. They had died from hypothermia and sheer exhaustion.

After this disaster searches became better organised, equipped and coordinated.

15th 1789 The sailing ship Adventure sank just off-shore at South Shields. Everyone was drowned, and this led to the design of a purpose-built rescue vessel.

16th 1947 The snowiest winter of modern times gave way to mild rainy weather and a rapid thaw. The result was disastrous floods in the Fens, as the rivers Witham, Nene, Welland and Ouse broke their banks. Some of the land did not drain until June.

17th 1340 The Reverend William Merle noted in his diary "... hail with snow and light wind four and five times in the day". He was the rector of Driby in Lincolnshire and a fellow of Merton College Oxford. He was the first person to keep a weather diary – 67 years from January 1277 to January 1344. Merle lived at the end of the Medieval Warm Period and the start of the Little Ice Age, so his observations are particularly interesting.

18th 1967 The supertanker, Torrey Canyon, hit the Pollard's Rock between Lands End and the Isles of Scilly, spilling 120,000 tons of crude oil. The damage to the ecology of the coastline was incalculable – at least it made people more aware of the importance of the natural environment.

19th 1969 Emley Moor television mast on the Pennines in Yorkshire, collapsed under the weight of accumulated ice. It was 1260 feet high and days of freezing cloud had encased the mast with great quantities of ice – 70 tons on the stay cables alone. This type of ice growth is known as "rime", and it grows when super cooled water drops in cloud, freeze instantly on contact with a solid object – the ice growing towards the direction from which the wind blows and may reach a foot or more in length before it collapses under its own weight. It is common on mountains and hilltops in winter. The best places in the Black Country to witness this are the top of the Rowley Hills and Clent Hills.


Raise the drawbridge and lower the portcullis! The Black Country is under attack once more from those with no understanding and certainly less respect for our culture and historical importance in the scientific and technological progress of mankind. Birmingham is poised like a vampire, rearing over us, waiting to pounce, waiting to envelope everyone and all things Black Country with a stifling shroud of administrative convenience, called Greater Birmingham – Big Brum!

Despite more than a whiff of hypocrisy, I wouldn't be averse to Greater Black Country with Big Brum in the secondary role – but we know that won't happen, don't we? Did we not suffer enough in the early 1970s when faceless bureaucrats in London picked up a map and pencilled in enlarged boundaries for just four Black Country towns, with scant regard for local loyalties? It produced so many anomalies – since when has Cradley Heath, surrounded by Dudley, felt any affinity with West Bromwich – sorry, I meant to write Sandwell. Why should Bilston be swamped by Wolverhampton, and where are Darlaston and Tipton now?


Andy Street, chairman of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Enterprise Partnership, said, "Birmingham does not wish to be 'second' in anything."

Now we are confronted by planners who apparently know nothing of the Black Country, resurrecting the notion of creating a regional hub to rival London and the South East. Birmingham and the Black Country, never the Black Country and Birmingham!

We have our own flag and our own Black Country Day on 14th July, our own newspaper – the Black Country Bugle, our own Black Country Society, our own dialect, our own history – second to none – and a pride in our origins.

If they want to enlarge, why not expand eastwards to incorporate Birmingham Airport, and on to Coventry? Those in Coventry won't object, they'll just send you to Cov... ! Dorridge, Hockley Heath, Hampton in Arden, Coleshill, Nuneaton, Atherstone and maybe Tamworth are all ripe for the picking replete with rich Warwickshire accents – just like in Great Brum.

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