Friday, March 1st 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Cold weather usually requires some degree of hibernation.
But if you feel like the urge to curl up in your duvet and never leave the house has been getting stronger over the past few winters, well – you’re right.
Because four out of five of them have been chillier than average, according to the Met Office.
There is hope on the horizon, however. Today marks the beginning of spring – albeit in the meteorological calendar.
Met Office figures showed that the average temperature for this winter was 3.3C (38F), 0.4C below the 30-year seasonal average of 3.7C (39F).
With the exception of 2011/12, which was milder at 4.6C (40F), every winter since 2007/08 has been colder than the average. The winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 were particularly chilly, with average temperatures of 1.6C (35F) and 2.4C (36F) respectively.
But forecasters say the recent crop of cold winters is part of normal weather patterns.
Both 2006/07 and 2007/08 were very mild winters, with mean temperatures of 5.6C (42F) and 4.9C (41F).
Forecaster Helen Chivers said a cyclical phenomenon known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) could be contributing to the colder winters.
This describes the pattern of high and low pressure above Iceland and the Azores. In years when air pressure is high above Iceland, Britain tends to get colder winds blown from the north. When it is higher over the Azores, Britain basks in warmer air.
She said: ‘This is the classic example of the variability that we can see in the British weather. If you look back past the last five years, then three out of the last seven winters were milder than average, while 2006/07 was the second warmest on record. The recent trend does suggest there are natural cycles that influence our weather, with a negative NAO also occurring in the 1960s and 1980s and resulting in colder winters.’
She explained that this winter was a season of ‘two halves’, with more rain falling in December than in January and February combined. She added: ‘This winter being slightly colder than average does not tell the whole story.
‘The first half of winter, the temperatures were normal but it was a mixture of sunshine and heavy rain, which led to flooding. But after mid-January, we have had cold and snowy weather.
‘The chilly spell continued, which has pushed the average temperatures down, but February was dry.’
But the weather should soon be improving. She said: ‘Temperatures are returning to normal after the weekend, up to 12C (54F) with the very cold weather now coming to an end. March is looking mixed, with colder weather perhaps returning in a couple of weeks’ time.’
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