Will this be the dullest January on record in northern Scotland?

Will January 2020 be the dullest on record in Northern Scotland? Up to the 29th Loch Glascarnoch had received just 4.9 hours of bright sunshine which you must admit is pretty dull. It’s a fact that any upland site receives less sunshine than places on lower ground, and the Highlands are no exception in that regard. Here’s a graph of the daily sunshine recorded at Loch Glascarnoch since the start of the Autumn. The smooth grey curve represents the amount of possible daylight at that location. It’s no wonder that people get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in winter months the further north you go.

Unfortunately the Met Office doesn’t make detailed long term climate records available specifically for Loch Glascarnoch, or for anywhere else come to that, but they do publish gridded regional data for the UK. By gridded I mean they take all the available sunshine data they have and interpolate it to create a grid of values, which they then use to calculate a monthly total for each region. Unfortunately the sunshine record only started in 1929, but according to that 90 year record the dullest January in Northern Scotland occurred in 1983, with just 12 hours of sunshine across the region. You may have noticed that Kinloss has been much sunnier (54.3 hours) this January, and because it lies within the boundary of what constitutes Northern Scotland in these records, that will push up the gridded value for Northern Scotland, but even so it’s certainly going to be much lower than average, but maybe not as low as in 1983.

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