View from the Rear Window - January 2023

"If we had no Winter, Spring would not be so pleasantAnne Bradstreet

January 2023 had a bit of everything.  Warmth at the beginning and end of the month with a sharp cold snap in the middle; all the rain in the first half of the month and no rain in the second half. On New Year's Day, the back garden looked like this ...

Figure 1: Rear Garden on New Year's Day 2023

Daily temperatures in January typically average around 4 ℃, so the first fifteen days of January were unusually warm with average daily temperatures of 8.6 ℃. Consequently, we were treated to some early cherry blossom...

Figure 2: Rear Garden on 16/1/23

The cold snap in the middle of the month rather put a stop to the cherry blossom but it started to recover as January came to a close (Figure 3) ...

Figure 3: Rear Garden on 29/1/23

Below I have put together a time-lapse video (using Microsoft's basic video editor) of the rear garden photos in January:

Summary of Weather Parameters for January 2023

Cooling and Heating Degree Days have been added to the list. Sunshine hours are estimated from average daily solar radiation values measured by the Davis weather station.

January 2023

Weather Parameter



Average Monthly Temperature 

6 oC

Maximum Monthly Temperature

14 oC


Minimum Monthly Temperature

-6 oC

17th & 21st

Number of Air Frost Days


Number of Hot Days (> 25 oC)


Monthly Precipitation

40.8 mm

Greatest 24 h Precipitation

10.6 mm

11th - 12th

Number of Dry Days


Monthly Sunshine Hours (estimated)


Average Wind Speed

4 km/h

Highest Wind Speed

50 km/h


Maximum Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1040.5 hPa


Minimum Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

986.3 hPa


Average Barometric Pressure (Sea Level)

1013.7 hPa

Heating Degree Days


Cooling Degree Days


Figure 4 collates the daily maximum and minimum temperatures for January, clearly showing the cold snap (16 - 24th) between the warm periods at the beginning and end of the month.

Figure 4: Maximum and Minimum Daily Temperatures - January 2023

Figure 5 plots the daily rainfall and sunshine hours (calculated from the daily solar radiation) for January: rainfall was, almost exclusively, in the first half of the month while daily sunshine hours slowly increased during the month as the days grew longer (with some variation depending on how cloudy it was).

Figure 5: Rainfall and Sunshine Hours - January 2023

Figure 6 summarises January temperature parameters from 2020 to 2023. This is too short a period to draw any conclusions on trends but indicates the year-to-year variability.

Figure 6: January Temperature Data: 2020 to 2023

Figure 7 compares rainfall, sunshine, and wind data for January (2020 - 2023). Note the large variation in precipitation values - always a possible concern for gardeners and farmers alike - and the consistent values for sunshine hours.

Figure 7: January Rain, Sun & Wind Data: 2020 to 2023

The Met Office report for January concluded the UK was sunnier than normal while temperatures and rainfall were average or just above average. Figure 8 (mean temperature), Figure 9 (rainfall) and Figure 10 (sunshine) are reproduced from the the Met Office webpage. Herefordshire is marked on each map and we can see that mean temperatures and rainfall were about average while sunshine levels were above the norm.

Figure 8: Regional Mean Temperature Anomalies for January 2023 (Met Office)

Figure 9: Regional % Rainfall for January 2023 (Met Office)

Figure 10: Regional % Sunshine Hours for January 2023 (Met Office)

Job in the Garden

January is a quiet month in the garden but there are a few jobs that need doing:
  • Harvest the celeriac and parsnips. The former suffered some frost damage though the parsnips were fine
  • Cutting back dead/frosted vegetation and pruning trees and bushes. A lot of frost damage especially from the December cold snap
  • Hot composting continued throughout winter
  • Checking last season's seed packets and making a shopping list for the new season
  • Replace water butt that sprung a leak

Finally, a few garden photos for January 2023:

Figure 11: Sarcococca nectar pervades the garden

Figure 12: Viburnam and Winter Cherry in flower

Figure 13: Hellebores

Figure 14: Snowdrops in the 'wood'

Figure 15: The promise of things to come!!??


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