Climate - Sunshine & Clouds

 

Climate - Sunshine & Clouds

The average annual amount of sunshine for the United Kingdom is relatively low and around 2/3 of days are partly cloudy, occasionally with little sun at all. Sunshine is usually recorded between 30% and 55% of the maximum possible annually. Southern coasts, however, often have the clearest skies because cumulus cloud formation generally takes place over land, so coastal areas are often cloud free. The south coast counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent have annual average totals of between 1,750 and 2100 hours of sunshine a year. North-western and mountainous areas are generally the cloudiest areas of the UK, with some mountainous areas receiving less than 1,000 hours of sunshine a year.

Valley areas such as the South Wales Valleys, due to their north-south orientation, often receive less sunshine than flat areas because the hills/mountains on either side of the valley obscure the sun in the early morning and late evening. This is particularly noticeable in winter as there are only a few hours of sunshine, with the sun low in the sky, even on a clear day.

On occasions blocking anticyclones (high pressure systems) may move over or near the UK and may persist for weeks or even months. The cool dry air often results in clear skies and few clouds, bringing frosty nights in winter and hot days in the summer, with some coastal areas achieving near maximum possible sunshine for periods of weeks.

The mountains of the UK can be especially cloudy with extensive mist and fog. Near the coast, sea fog may move in during winter nights and fog in other areas of the UK can persist for hours or even days in the winter and can pose a major hazard for drivers and aircraft.

Average daily hours of sunshine in midwinter range from 1 hour or less in some mountainous areas up to 2 hours on the South Coast midwinter, whilst average daily hours of sunshine in midsummer range 4 to 8 in high western areas to between 6 and 10 hours a day on the South Coast.

Most sunshine in one month: 383.9 hours at Eastbourne (East Sussex) in July 1911.

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Page 1 - Introduction / Overview
Page 2 - Seasons
Page 3 - Regions
Page 4 - Sunshine & Clouds (Current page)
Page 5 - The Atlantic Ocean
Page 6 - Winds
Page 7 - Rainfall
Page 8 - Temperature
Page 9 - Severe weather
Page 10 - Climate history

 

The above 'Climate of the UK' article is a Wikipedia publication under GNU licence. Source page. Archived 2006.


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