I noticed that the warmest spring* in the daily CET record back to 1772 in Central England was 1893. I don’t make a habit of looking for exceptional warm springs in the Victorian era, it was just that the spring of 1893 was even warmer than the spring of 2017 which has just ended (fig 1). The other thing that caught my eye was how exceptionally high the mean maximum was (anomaly +3.82°C), and how comparatively normal the mean minimum (anomaly +0.37°). This obviously points to a very anticyclonic regime back in the spring of 1893 to produce very warm days and comparatively cold nights, the graph below (fig 2) shows the contrasting anomalies during that spring perfectly.
So just how anticyclonic was it? A quick scan of the reanalysis charts for that spring reveals it was very anticyclonic.
Here are the headlines from the monthly weather reports compiled by the Met Office back then:
- March 1893 Exceedingly fine and dry in all but the extreme north and northwest where showers were more frequent.
- April 1893 Remarkably fine, warm and dry, especially over southern England where the severe drought continued with scarcely any intermission.
- May 1893 Mostly fine and dry, especially in the south and east till mid-month, then unsettled with rain and thunderstorms in places.
- June 1893 Generally fine and dry first half with local thunderstorms, the second half saw frequent showers and thunderstorms.
As you can see from the LWT analysis (fig 4), spring 1893 is easily the most anticyclonic in the series that started in 1871, with 58% of LWT being either anticyclonic or anticyclonic hybrid. It wasn’t cold, because the predominant flow was generally southeasterly or southerly rather that east or northeasterly. Spring 2017 is currently in 22nd position with a couple more days of records to go.
It was also the second driest spring [MAM] since 1766 in England and Wales (fig 5).
* I’m old-fashioned, and because of this I prefer to use seasons that start and end (approximately) at the times of the various equinoxes and solstices, so most of these stats are based on so-called ‘astronomical’ rather than ‘meteorological’ seasons.