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Hotter but not sunnier -- 2011 sets all wrong records

IT'S the proof of what sunworshippers have long suspected. Most months in 2011 were warmer than average - but the mercury levels failed to rise significantly during those all important summer months.

An annual review by the climate department at Met Eireann shows temperatures were up nearly 1C in many places, but last year was also one of the dullest for many years.

Globally scientists at the World Meteorological Organisation found temperatures in 2011 were the tenth highest on record and the 10 years to 2011 proved the warmest decade on record.

December proved a mild month with a temperature of 13.7C recorded at Oak Park, Carlow on Christmas Day -- a dramatic difference compared to the lowest air temperature of -15.7C recorded at Casement Aerodrome on December 25, 2010. November was the warmest month compared with usual temperatures for that time of the year and the warmest November on record for most stations in the west, midlands and east of the country.

The hottest day of the year was recorded on June 3 last as the mercury peaked at 26C in Cavan and Athy, Co Kildare. It was also the sunniest day of the year with 15.6 hours recorded.

However, temperatures were much lower than those recorded in the summer of 2006 when temperatures soared to 31C -- which was the warmest, driest and sunniest summer since the record breaking year of 1995.

Yet, September also set a late record as a high of 25.7C was recorded at the Phoenix Park -- the highest during that month in 105 years.

Lower than normal levels of sunshine were recorded in the south and southwest.

It may seem a long time ago now but the sunniest months compared to normal were January and March, with September recording the lowest levels.

In Co Kerry, Valentia Observatory recorded its lowest September sunshine since way back in 1893.

Cork Airport had its dullest year since 1994 with 1,352 hours of sunshine recorded, while the highest levels were found at Dublin Airport.

The weather also varied dramatically across the country as annual rainfall levels were mostly above average, but it was a dry year in the south and southeast. The year also proved one of the windiest, with the highest ever gust recorded during May of 78 knots or 144km/h at Belmullet.

Irish Independent