Oxford sets new rain and cold records

The last nine months in Oxford have been just as bad as everyone has complained: they’ve officially been the wettest since record-keeping began in 1767. On 1 April 2012, the wettest nine-month stretch in nearly 250 years began: by 31 December 2012, there’d been nearly double the average rainfall (898.7 instead of 483.4 mm). Since 1767, only eight other 9-month periods have seen rainfall above 800 mm. May 1852 to January 1853, and May 1960 to January 1961 were runners-up.

For all that, there weren’t necessarily many more days of rain than usual, just heavier rain when it did come down. The 2013 weather has continued in a similar vein, with an unusually high snowfall in January, and torrential rains on just a few days in February bringing that month up past its average. March temperatures are the seventh-coldest on record.

No one is sure just why this last year was so wet. Records appear to support the findings that global warming will lead to warmer air with higher moisture-holding capacity, and therefore more extremes in the weather.