Weer in de Regency tijd

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    Winters were harsh through the entire Regency era, 1811-20, with an average monthly temperature of 3 degrees Celsius/37 degrees Fahrenheit. They were the waning years of a much larger climate event, the Little Ice Age.

    1794-95: Exceptionally severe winter. The cold beginning on Christmas Eve, and lasting until late March, with a few temporary breaks. January was particularly cold, with a CET of 0.8c. It was the coldest January in the instrumental era, beginning 1659. The Severn and The Thames froze, and ‘Frost Fairs’ started up again. An extremely bitter temperature of -21c was recorded in London, on January 25th. In early February, there was a rapid, but only temporary thaw. Flooding ensued. The severe cold returned slightly later (mid February) and continued well into March. There were many recorded snow events. The winter was anticyclonic (High Pressure dominated) and Easterlies were dominant throughout. Up in Scotland, it was the seventh coldest at Edinburgh, in the series 1764/65 1962/63. (coldest 1779/80). The winter was memorable for all.

    1796: December was severe, with frosts in London and elsewhere. -21c was recorded in London, as was -19c.

    1798-99: Severe frost lasted from late December to early January in London and the South. Heavy snowfalls were recorded, especially in North Eastern Scotland, where transport was dislocated for quite some time.

    1799: Spring was very cold, and was recorded as being very cold in the CET series.

    1800: A dry summer.

    1802: A dry year.

    1807: A dry year & a dry summer. Fog daily 17th – 21st December (London/South).

    1808: Fog daily 24th December to 2nd January (London/South). Further fog on 7 days later in January.

    1809-1819: After a relatively benign period from 1790 (several warm summers & less cold winters), these years saw a return to often harsh winters & unsettled, cold & wet summers. The decade from 1810-1819 was the coldest in England since the 1690’s. Lamb (CHMW) ascribes this reversal to a renewal of volcanic activity.

    1810: What is thought to be Britain’s strongest tornado (known / accepted) occurred in December 1810. A category of “T8” (on a ten-point scale) has been assigned to it; 14th December, 1810 at Old Portsmouth (Hampshire).

    1811: A late start for severe winters in the 1800s, but January of 1811 saw the Thames freeze, once again!

    1812: A year later, and March this time. 1ft of snow fell in Scotland, around the city of Edinburgh (I think Edinburgh and London had the most weather records of anywhere in the UK due to their frequency in data being recorded) followed by drifting in a gale force North Easterly!

    1813-1814: Not many of the 1800s winters had I heard of before about 3-4 years ago, but this one I had, due to its severe cold. One of the 4/5 coldest winters in the CET series. Colder winters included: 1962-63 (see part 1739-40 (see part 3) and the coldest, 1683-84 (see part 2) ‘Lorna Doone’. A memorable winter overall. January to March was very cold. January had a CET of -2.9 (third coldest since records began?) The next comparible year in terms of cold weather being 1962-63. The tidal stretch of the Thames froze for the last time, the old London Bridge was removed, and other factors helped increase the rivers flow, preventing ice forming again. If it was the same now as it was back then, we would still see it being frozen. A frost fair was held on the Thames, possibly the last ‘great’ one. The frost began in late December, approaching the new year. Thick fog came with the frost, as was common in London at the time. Probably one of the snowiest winters in the last 300 years, although 1947 was likely to have been snowier. Heavy snow fell for 2-3 days in early January, before a temporary thaw of 1 day. Then the frost just returned, possibly more severe than before due to the snow cover, and persisted until early February. A thaw followed later, and ice floating down the river damaged ships. Fog was also a hazard and took a long time to clear, lasting from late December to early January, an unusual occurrence. Visibility was down to 20 yards at times! Traffic hardly moved, and travelling became very dangerous. The fog cleared following a Northerly gale in early January, when heavy snow fell. A severe and very snowy winter.

    1815: The May and June of 1815 were very unsettled, and marked by high rainfall totals across the Low Countries. In particular, the heavy rain-storms in the lead up to, and immediately prior to the Battle of Waterloo (17th/18th) across Belgium may have been a contributory factor in the defeat of the Napoleonic French forces – the French cavalry in particular finding it difficult to traverse the rain-sodden ground.

    1816: Known as the year without summer, snow fell very late on, and the summer never recovered. The winter proceeding it was severe. A volcanic eruption (Tambora: East Indies) disrupted wind patterns and temperatures greatly, affecting the track of depressions, which tracked further South than usual, and making the UK very cold an wet for the summer and beyond. Scotland was drier though, an obvious sign that the depressions changed track. In September the Thames had frozen! Snow drifts remained on hills until late July!

    [1] https://www.netweather.tv/weather-forecasts/uk/winter/winter-history
    [2] https://www.quillsandquartos.com/post/snowed-in-regency-style
    [3] https://premium.weatherweb.net/weather-in-history-1800-to-1849-ad/
    [4] https://www.geriwalton.com/winter-of-1813-1814-the-great-london-fog-and-frost/

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