The long-range weather forecaster predicted that it would be “wetter overall across the country, with an estimated 60% to 65% more rainfall than is typical for this month”.
However, according to Met Éireann’s weather report for January, it was drier than average during the month, with the majority of places reporting below half their normal rainfall for this time of year. In fact, low monthly rainfall totals led to Dublin stations and stations in the east midlands reporting their driest January in 11 years, with a few other stations in the west and north reporting their driest January conditions in 20 years.
Ring predicted that the country would be sunnier than average overall, with an estimated 15% to 20% more sunshine than is typical for January. Connacht was predicted to be within 5% of the norm, while the Munster province was expected to have up to 50% more sunshine hours than the average.
On this weather aspect, Ring was closer to the mark. Met Éireann reported that monthly sunshine values ranged from 6% more than the average at Knock Airport, Co Mayo, to 36% more than the average at Shannon Airport, Co Clare. Monthly sunshine totals were 22% more than the average at Cork Airport.
Ring predicted that temperatures would be around 0.8% warmer than the average for the country as a whole.
On this, Ring was fairly accurate, with Met Éireann reporting that all mean air temperatures in January were above their average, with some stations in the west, northwest and east reporting differences from the average of over 1°C. However, while Ring predicted that Ulster would be slightly cooler than the average, Met Éireann reported that Malin Head, Co Donegal, which reported a monthly mean temperature of 6.8°C, had its mildest January in 10 years.
Ring predicted that it would be drier overall across the country in February, with an estimated 16% less rainfall than is typical for February. Connacht was expected to be 15% drier, Munster 20% drier and Leinster drier by around 40%. Ulster was expected to be wetter overall, but only by around 5%.
According to Met Éireann, February was not drier overall. Rather, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Just over half of stations reported monthly rainfall totals that were below their average, while parts of the south, southwest, west, midlands and Dublin reported above average totals.
Ring predicted that it would be cloudier overall, with an estimated 23% less sunshine hours than is typical for February.
It seems Ring was fairly close to the mark on this one again, with Met Éireann reporting that monthly sunshine totals were low throughout the country. Totals were lowest at Knock Airport, Co Mayo, with a sunshine total of 31.2 hours (52% below average), and its dullest February since the station opened in 1996. Even the highest sunshine total was only 66.1 hours at Malin Head, Co Donegal.
Ring predicted that temperatures would be warmer than the February average by around 1.6°C.
Again, Ring was fairly on the ball here, with Met Éireann reporting that all mean air temperatures across the country were above their average for the month, with a fifth of stations reporting temperatures of over 1°C above the average. Nearly all stations reported it as the mildest February in five years.
Ring predicted that there would be average rainfall in March, with Ulster around 10% wetter, Leinster around 15% to 20% drier and Connacht and Munster slightly wetter than average.
Ring was slightly off here, especially in terms of Leinster, as Met Éireann reported that nearly all rainfall totals were well above average for the month. Monthly rainfall totals for the month ranged from 65.9mm (30% more than the average) at Casement Aerodrome, Co Dublin, to 53% more than the average at Newport, Co Mayo – both their wettest March in nine years.
Ring predicted that it would be sunnier overall, with an estimated 14% more sunshine hours likely for the country as a whole.
The forecaster was pretty accurate with regard to this weather aspect as the highest monthly sunshine totals for March 2017 were 15% higher than in March 2016. Meanwhile, Knock Aiport, Co Mayo, reported sunshine hours around 24% above average – its highest March total in seven years.
Ring predicted that temperatures would be higher by around 0.3°C for the country as a whole.
The New Zealander underestimated here slightly as mean temperatures for the month ranged from 7.1°C (1.4°C above average) at Knock Airport, Co Mayo, to 9.4°C (1.3°C above average) at Valentia Observatory, Co Kerry.
Overall, Ring seems to have been fairly inaccurate with regard to rainfall in the months we’ve looked at. However, he has performed much better on sunshine and temperatures. Therefore, given that rainfall levels are so important to farmers, we give him an overall result of 6/10.