3095 HOURS OF SUNSHINE LATER: The weather round-up for 2015
As we settle into the New Year, here is a look back at the local weather trends in 2015; a year which began with higher-than average rainfall, ended with an unusually bright, balmy December, and included 3095.2 hours of warm Maltese sunshine.
The year 2015 was brought to a close by a pleasantly dry and sunny December. The average air temperature remained quite warm at 14.4°C, with highs of up to 19.8°C and lows reaching 7.8°C. By comparison, the previous year saw much chillier conditions during the festive season when temperatures hit a record low for December, dropping to just 2.8°C on New Year’s Eve. Rainfall also fell far short of the climate norm last month with a total of 45.8mm recorded instead of the usual average of 104.8mm.
Malta lived up to her sunny reputation at the close of the year with an unusually high number of hours of sunshine. In total the islands experienced 197.9 hours instead of the expected 156.3 hours, peaking on the 23rd when last minute Christmas shoppers enjoyed 9.5 hours of sunshine as they made their final gift purchases of the season. Cloud cover was just 3.6 oktas, considerably lower than the more usual 4.4 oktas, and wind speeds averaged 5.1knots, well below the more typical norm of 9.1knots. Thunder was only heard on one day.
Overall 2015 was characterised by moderate weather patterns without notable extremes. The year began with the lowest recorded temperature for 2015, dropping to 2.1°C on January 1st and then reaching a peak of 38.4°C on the hottest day of summer, which was July 31st. The wettest month was February with a total of 112.8mm of rainfall and the driest was June, in which only a trace of rainfall was detected. Coming in at just 12.8mm lower than the climate norm, rainfall totalled 554.2mm for the year. Thunder was reported on 37 days out of the year, hail on 5 days, and fog was seen on 2 days. The strongest wind gust recorded was 50 knots on the 26th of November, while the mean wind speed for the year was 8.25 knots. Sunshine was not in short supply with an average of 12.33 hours per day during the brightest month, which was July, and a year average 8.48 hours per day. Malta’s brightest year on record was 1961, when the hours of sunshine averaged 8.9 hours daily