Average Weather in Kirkwall United Kingdom
In Kirkwall, the summers are short, cool, and windy; the winters are long, very cold, wet, and extremely windy; and it is mostly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 36°F to 61°F and is rarely below 31°F or above 66°F.
Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Kirkwall for warm-weather activities is from mid July to late August.
The warm season lasts for 2.8 months, from June 21 to September 15, with an average daily high temperature above 57°F. The hottest day of the year is August 6, with an average high of 61°F and low of 52°F.
The cool season lasts for 4.2 months, from November 23 to March 31, with an average daily high temperature below 47°F. The coldest day of the year is February 17, with an average low of 36°F and high of 43°F.
Average High and Low Temperature
The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.
Average Hourly Temperature
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
In Kirkwall, the average percentage of the sky covered by clouds experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The clearer part of the year in Kirkwall begins around April 14 and lasts for 5.8 months, ending around October 8. On May 30, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 46% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 54% of the time.
The cloudier part of the year begins around October 8 and lasts for 6.2 months, ending around April 14. On February 3, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 70% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 30% of the time.
Cloud Cover Categories
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
A wet day is one with at least 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation. The chance of wet days in Kirkwall varies throughout the year.
The wetter season lasts 6.5 months, from September 6 to March 23, with a greater than 36% chance of a given day being a wet day. The chance of a wet day peaks at 49% on January 4.
The drier season lasts 5.4 months, from March 23 to September 6. The smallest chance of a wet day is 24% on May 16.
Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 48% on November 3.
Daily Chance of Precipitation
To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Kirkwall experiences significant seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.
Rain falls throughout the year in Kirkwall. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around October 27, with an average total accumulation of 3.5 inches.
The least rain falls around May 12, with an average total accumulation of 1.5 inches.
Average Monthly Rainfall
The length of the day in Kirkwall varies extremely over the course of the year. In 2019, the shortest day is December 22, with 6 hours, 11 minutes of daylight; the longest day is June 21, with 18 hours, 30 minutes of daylight.
Hours of Daylight and Twilight
The earliest sunrise is at 3:58 AM on June 19, and the latest sunrise is 5 hours, 8 minutes later at 9:06 AM on December 27. The earliest sunset is at 3:13 PM on December 16, and the latest sunset is 7 hours, 15 minutes later at 10:28 PM on June 23.
Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Kirkwall during 2019, starting in the spring on March 31, lasting 6.9 months, and ending in the fall on October 27.
Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time
We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.
The perceived humidity level in Kirkwall, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.
Humidity Comfort Levels
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.
The average hourly wind speed in Kirkwall experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The windier part of the year lasts for 6.5 months, from September 21 to April 7, with average wind speeds of more than 17.7 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is January 24, with an average hourly wind speed of 22.5 miles per hour.
The calmer time of year lasts for 5.5 months, from April 7 to September 21. The calmest day of the year is July 13, with an average hourly wind speed of 12.9 miles per hour.
Average Wind Speed
The predominant average hourly wind direction in Kirkwall varies throughout the year.
The wind is most often from the south for 1.7 weeks, from January 1 to January 13; for 6.0 days, from February 21 to February 27; for 4.1 weeks, from April 22 to May 21; and for 1.3 months, from September 29 to November 7, with a peak percentage of 38% on January 10. The wind is most often from the west for 1.3 months, from January 13 to February 21; for 1.8 months, from February 27 to April 22; for 3.7 months, from June 8 to September 29; and for 1.8 months, from November 7 to January 1, with a peak percentage of 39% on January 23. The wind is most often from the north for 2.6 weeks, from May 21 to June 8, with a peak percentage of 28% on June 5.
Kirkwall is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.
The average water temperature experiences some seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The time of year with warmer water lasts for 3.1 months, from July 12 to October 17, with an average temperature above 53°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is August 30, with an average temperature of 55°F.
The time of year with cooler water lasts for 4.0 months, from January 8 to May 8, with an average temperature below 47°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is March 9, with an average temperature of 45°F.
Average Water Temperature
Best Time of Year to Visit
To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Kirkwall throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.
The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Kirkwall for general outdoor tourist activities is from mid July to late August, with a peak score in the last week of July.
The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Kirkwall for hot-weather activities is from mid July to early August, with a peak score in the third week of July.
For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.
Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.
Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.
Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.
Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.
Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).
The growing season in Kirkwall typically lasts for 8.0 months (245 days), from around April 6 to around December 8, rarely starting before February 28 or after May 5, and rarely ending before November 7 or after January 2.
Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.
Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Kirkwall should appear around June 20, only rarely appearing before June 4 or after July 5.
Growing Degree Days
This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.
The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.
The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.1 months, from May 4 to August 7, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 4.6 kWh. The brightest day of the year is June 21, with an average of 5.8 kWh.
The darker period of the year lasts for 4.4 months, from October 17 to February 28, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 1.3 kWh. The darkest day of the year is December 22, with an average of 0.2 kWh.
Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy
For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Kirkwall are 58.985 deg latitude, -2.959 deg longitude, and 33 ft elevation.
The topography within 2 miles of Kirkwall contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 413 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 86 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (873 feet). Within 50 miles also contains very significant variations in elevation (1,575 feet).
The area within 2 miles of Kirkwall is covered by grassland (61%), water (25%), and artificial surfaces (11%), within 10 miles by water (54%) and grassland (29%), and within 50 miles by water (88%).
This report illustrates the typical weather in Kirkwall, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.
Temperature and Dew Point
There are 2 weather stations near enough to contribute to our estimation of the temperature and dew point in Kirkwall.
For each station, the records are corrected for the elevation difference between that station and Kirkwall according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.
The estimated value at Kirkwall is computed as the weighted average of the individual contributions from each station, with weights proportional to the inverse of the distance between Kirkwall and a given station.
All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets , by Jean Meeus.
All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.
Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .
Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .
Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.
The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.
We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.
We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.