UK enjoys third sunniest January on record

The UK enjoyed its third sunniest January on record last month, with many areas seeing more than 50% more hours of sunshine than usual, the Met Office said.

This was despite the overall temperature and rainfall remaining close to long-term levels, with a cold snap in the middle of the month offset by milder weather at the start of the year.

An average of 63.1 hours of sunshine were recorded across the UK last month, making it the third sunniest January after 1959 (69.7 hours) and 2001 (66.5 hours).

England saw its second sunniest January on record, with only 2022 ranking higher.

By contrast, western and northern areas of Scotland had the least in the way of sunshine, with the Western Isles seeing a fairly dull month.

Dr Mark McCarthy, Met Office National Climate Information Centre manager, said: “One notable feature of January’s weather was the sunshine, with plenty of clear spells of weather, though not enough to trouble any national records.

“The far north-west might feel a little short-changed with sunshine duration, as well as western areas of Northern Ireland thanks to some more persistent cloud and rain moving in off the Atlantic in January.”

Met Office records for sunshine begin in 1919.

The mean UK temperature for January was 4.4C, just 0.4C above the long-term average.

Rainfall was also close to normal for the time of year, with 125.7mm falling, 3% more than average.

“After a record-breaking 2022 for heat in the UK, January has started this year with a near-average month for temperature, which masks a period of cold weather in the middle of the month, as well as some mild weather at the start of the year,” Dr McCarthy added.

“The month’s weather has largely been flipping from westerlies with milder air and rain to influxes of northerly air with cold and dry weather, which is not unusual for a UK winter.

“What this results in is fairly typical January temperature and rainfall statistics when averaged across the whole month.”