DECEMBER is a month more known for ear muffs than sunglasses but last month was the sunniest in Oxford since records began in 1881.

Nearly 97 hours of sunshine were recorded for the month by observers from Oxford University’s Radcliffe Meteorological Station – almost twice as much as the December average of 49 hours.

Dr Ian Ashpole, observer for the Radcliffe Meteorological Station from the University’s School of Geography and Environment said: “This December record is just another chapter from the extraordinary weather story of 2014.

“Overall it was the warmest since 1815, and the winter months December to February were the wettest in 248 years.”

The previous record was set in 1952 when the sun shone for just under 78 hours.

Last year was Oxford’s warmest year since full temperature records began in 1815. It is part of a very warm trend since 1990.

Dr Ashpole and other observers measure sunshine hours with a Campbell-Stokes recorder on one of the highest points in the city. Invented in 1853, the device focuses the sun’s rays through a glass sphere on to a specially calibrated card where they burn a trace.

Oxford is set to be sunny today too, with temperatures steadily rising into the week.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey said: “Saturday is looking nice, with plenty of sun – one of those clear, crisp winter days.”

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