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Sizzling March?

April 3, 2019

By Paul Homewood



According to CET, March 2019 was the 17th warmest on record since 1659, 1.2C higher than the 1981-2010 average.

Sound impressed? No, thought not!

The month as a whole actually seemed to be pretty unremarkable. There was some mild weather at the start of the month, accompanied by very wet weather. The last few days were also pleasant and sunny.

But unusually warm?

The graph at the top gives a bit of perspective.

First of all it is obvious that last month was pretty typical of Marchs during the last 30 years or so.

The fact that it is 1.2C above the 30-year average means little, as natural variability means some years are warmer and others cooler, such as last year. That’s what an average is.

Indeed, in the last 30 years, eleven had March anomalies of 1C or more. Six of these years were warmer than this March.

By far the warmest Marchs were in 1957 and 1938, again suggesting that there was nothing unusual about last month.


The other thing which stands out is that most Marchs used to be much colder than normal until the 1980s.

BTW, I use the term “normal” deliberately. The climate of the last 30 years or so is what we are used to, and it is also the standard definition of the WMO. Besides, why should the temperatures of the 18thC, for instance, be regarded as “normal”, particularly when we know the Little Ice Age was exceptionally cold historically.



Two more charts offer a good indication of what is happening.

First, the distribution of the hottest March days, those above 17C:




This year did not even figure on the list, with a high of 14.5C.

Since daily figures became available in 1880, there is no evidence that top temperatures in March are getting higher, or that these warmest days are becoming more frequent.


When we look at cold extremes, however, a clear pattern emerges:



March 2018 sticks out like a sore thumb with those four days at the right of the chart, one of which was the coldest March day in the whole series. (These are daytime temperatures, by the way, ie daily maximums, and not daily minimums).

But apart from last year, exceptionally cold March days have been virtually non existent since the 1970s. At the start of the series in the 1880s, they were very common.


When we look at the rise in monthly mean temperatures in recent decades, we are not observing days becoming warmer, so much as the coldest days becoming less common.

Put simply, our climate in March is much less extreme than it used to be.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    April 3, 2019 7:25 pm

    I’ve posted this once before… March 1938, a perspective:

    Reading through Charles Lindbergh’s Wartime Journals, 1970, pages 11-12, he wrote this just outside London on Sunday April 3rd, 1938, 81 years ago TODAY!

    “Wonderful weather since we landed last month. Was beginning to become enthusiastic about the weather in England until Anne read in the morning’s Observer that it was the warmest March for 150 years.”

  2. Rowland P permalink
    April 3, 2019 7:37 pm

    Apparently as reported by the BBC (no kidding!) Canada is suffering runaway warming!

    • johnbillscott permalink
      April 3, 2019 8:01 pm

      The Canadian report was written, surprisingly, by bureaucrats working in the Department of Environment and Climate Change whose Minister , Climate Barbie, a scientist who has said and is guided by the “science is settled”, a bit like BEEB. So obviously if you are employed in the climate change program you need to protect your job by toeing the line.

      • Geoff Moore permalink
        April 5, 2019 12:54 pm

        And it just happened to be a premature report released a day early following the Federal Government imposing a Carbon Tax in several Provinces……

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 3, 2019 8:08 pm

      Notrickszone says that although the mean temperature has obviously warmed over the last century, there’s no warming for the last 25 years in the stations they looked at – so it hardly tallies with CO2/AGW being responsible does it?

      Of course the hardest problem these days is finding unmolested raw data. It’s hilarious that the alarmists tried to trigger a panic to archive all the ‘climate’ data to stop Trump destroying it, when that is precisely what they have been doing for years.

    • April 3, 2019 10:12 pm

      It also says the data starts in 1948, when supposedly they first had “national temperatures”

      Strange how they missed out on the much hotter 1930s.

  3. quaesoveritas permalink
    April 3, 2019 8:27 pm

    I was surprised at the provisional anomaly of +2.1, since in has felt colder in March than February in the NE.
    I had snow and sleet this morning, on relatively low ground near the coast.

  4. Coeur de Lion permalink
    April 3, 2019 10:43 pm

    An inch of long lasting snow-ho-ho here in Hampshire (UK) today

  5. roger permalink
    April 3, 2019 11:28 pm

    OT but just noticed this beauty on aol news
    Last week, Trump attacked wind power at a rally in Michigan, claiming that if the wind doesn’t blow, televisions and other electronic devices will lose power.

    In fact, turbines can store the energy to be used even in times of calm

    • annbanisher permalink
      April 4, 2019 12:56 am

      Is that sarcasm?

      • Broadlands permalink
        April 4, 2019 1:17 am

        Roger can speak for himself, but the problem is much greater than wind or the Sun. The problem is the ultimate disposal of future outdated, damaged and unrepairable turbines and solar panels. Where will the “greens” put them? Next to the locations where they want the captured CO2 buried? Global salvage? Don’t forget that at a global scale these alternative energies will need the land now occupied by agriculture…food… and the land where millions? of new trees will be sequestering CO2? Are they aware of these unintended consequences? Are the politicians on board this “green” railroad with nowhere to go?

      • roger permalink
        April 4, 2019 12:53 pm

        Just to make it clear the whole post is copied directly and verbatim from aol news.
        I was hoping for suggestions as to how and where a turbine could store it’s power?

      • April 4, 2019 2:27 pm

        Clearly the shape of the tower allows for the installation of thousands of rechargeable torch batteries.

  6. Jack Miller permalink
    April 4, 2019 1:27 am

    The BOM here in Australia recently reported our month of March is the warmest on record and the media have picked that up and ran with it (

    That’s left a few of us scratching our heads so to speak because just as in the UK March seemed rather unremarkable and some areas were experiencing rather cool temperatures.

    The BOM has homogenised the data so much now it’s difficult to get an actual picture of what’s really going on.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 4, 2019 5:25 am

    regarding Roger’s comment and the responses:

    First, remember when The Donald speaks about what he wants to do, take it seriously but not literally. Remember too the metaphor of poking a wasp nest with a stick. He is aware of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” (TDS) and uses odd remarks to provoke his enemies.

    Second: Regarding electronic devices, they need what is called:
    {Quote from Wikipedia: [My bold.]}
    An uninterruptible power supply (UPS), an apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries, supercapacitors, or flywheels.
    When connected to an electric grid, those instantaneous electrons are there when the wind stops or the sun goes behind a cloud.
    Turbines cannot store electricity.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 4, 2019 9:24 am

      I think Roger is saying Trump said the power can fail and some AOL ‘news’ muppet made up a comment to rubbish it. This is typical of what BBC staff also do when presented with an inconvenient report/fact/caller. They rubbish it with made up nonsense on the spot with no right to reply. Of course AOL are referring to battery backup etc. but without explaining the cost/impracticality/environmental impact.

  8. April 4, 2019 9:21 am

    March in the UK was no great shakes either, continuing the very slight downward trend since 2000. What’s fascinating is that there is very little difference between the temperature rankings of Feb 2019 and Mar 2019 in CET. The former is 347 (out of 361), the latter 345, so February was only slightly warmer than March (on a monthly comparison basis), but whereas March has been entirely unremarkable, a very warm period in February had alarmists foaming at the mouth claiming global warming was wrecking the British climate.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 4, 2019 10:06 am

      A couple of very warm days caused entirely weather phenemona.

  9. Athelstan. permalink
    April 4, 2019 9:46 am

    Cold, cool, dry, wet sometimes a bit warm, March heralds the spring and that is so, since time immemorial.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 4, 2019 12:28 pm

      March came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

      Maybe someone wants to borrow my phrase for some weather folklore as this wacky crazy different weather is clearly the new normal and never happened before.

  10. April 4, 2019 10:10 am

    Remember March 2013 in the UK?

    Worst March snow for 30 years brings chaos
    Forecasters said this weekend’s snowfall, which followed the official start of spring last Wednesday, was likely to be Britain’s largest since 1981.

  11. Gerry, England permalink
    April 4, 2019 1:15 pm

    Sorry, had to brush the snow of my screen to read this. Was delayed getting in to work as all this heat had caused ice to form on the 3rd rail so the trains were all cancelled. Funny that there was never this problem during the winter. Did somebody believe the BS and put their deicing trains away?

  12. April 4, 2019 4:41 pm

    The “0” reference line on the first graph is strange. Clearly the average is lower. As shown, it looks like the days were cold until a new, big heat event.

    Plus, the heat event looks suspiciously sudden, as if the winds shifted.

  13. April 6, 2019 7:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  14. quaesoveritas permalink
    April 8, 2019 1:59 pm

    As I suspected, the current provisional CET figure for April, is only 0.2c above normal and actually slightly lower that February’s final figure.
    Not forecasted to go much higher for at least a week here on the NE.coast.

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