The Climate around the Blackwater

The climate on the Essex costal region and around the Blackwater Estuary is notable different to the majority of the UK and even other parts of Essex. Being on the east coast with prevailing westerly winds, and low land, cloud thickness and rainfall are on average very low, resulting in sunshine levels that on average are higher. The phenomena is known as the “rain shadow effect”. Extensive national and regional data  is available from the Met.Office showing the history and variations in climate across the UK over a 30 year period, and this data has been interpreted to demonstrate its significance for the Essex coastal region...

total annual rainfall

Rainfall average B&W.jpg

lightest areas = least rainfall

 (black: greater than 200cm     white: less than 60cm)

total annual sunshine

Sunshine Average B.jpg

darkest areas = most sunshine

(dark: greater than 640hrs     white: less than 400hrs)

These two maps reveal that the immediate vicinity of the Blackwater has the combination of both very low rainfall and high levels of sunshine, comparable to the south coast. The two driest places in the UK are recorded as St Osyth and Shoeburyness, both on the Essex coast. The two driest gardens in the UK open to the public are Beth Chatto's Garden at Elmstead Market and RHS Hyde Hall, again both in Essex. The total annual rainfall recorded near Goldhanger in 2013 was 51.7cm. Here are some average annual rainfalls in centimetres from the Met. Office website as a comparison:

 

St Osyth

Shoeburynes

Chelmsford

50.7

51.5

59.1

Colchester

Oxford

Cardiff

  60

  65

115.2

 

National and regional weather forecasters rarely say “..and it will be drier on the east coast”, but often say “it will be cooler on the east coast”. However, the average temperature maps available from the Met. Office and summarised below show that both the summer and winter temperatures along the Essex coast are not significantly different to those along the south coast...

average summer temperatures

Max Temp Average.jpg

darkest areas =  warmest

(black: greater than 21oc    white: less than 17oc)

average winter temperatures

Min Temp Average2.JPG

darkest areas =  warmest

(black:  greater than 3oc    white: less than 1oc)

Farmers and gardeners know that coastal areas benefit from the moderating effect of the warmer sea, technically known as “maritime influence”, and estuaries bring that maritime influence further inland. Crops located near the estuary, such as the orchards once all around Goldhanger village, were, and still are less likely to suffer from frost damage. In addition, there is the temperature effect of differing altitudes, giving a average reduction in ambient temperature of about 2 degrees centigrade for each 100 metres of elevation and making the low lying coastal region slightly warmer on average than just a few miles inland.

The favourable local climate must have had a significant beneficial effects on several products and features in the neighbourhood, such as...

Salt extraction in the Blackwater

Oyster cultivation in the Blackwater

Local fruit orchards

Strawberry growing

Leisure activities on the Blackwater

 Walnut trees in the village

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