The UK’s climate has continued to warm, with 2020 the first year to have temperature, rain and sunshine rankings all in the top 10.
The latest analysis of the UK climate, State of the UK Climate 2020 published in The Royal Meteorological Society’s ‘International Journal of Climatology’, has shown that climate change is already being felt across the UK. All of the top-ten warmest years for the UK in records back to 1884 have occurred since 2002, and, for central England, the 21st century so far has been warmer than the previous three centuries.
The last 30-year period (1991-2020) has been 0.9°C warmer than the preceding 30 years (1961-1990). The warming trend is evident across all months and all countries in the UK.
The greatest warming compared to 1961-1990 has been across the east Midlands and East Anglia where average annual temperatures have increased by more than 1°C, with the least warming around western coastal fringes and parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland.
As well as increased temperatures, the UK has been on average 6% wetter over the last 30 years (1991-2020) than the preceding 30 years (1961-1990). Six of the ten wettest years for the UK in a series from 1862 have occurred since 1998.
2020 was the first year that the annual values for rainfall, temperature and sunshine were all in the top ten in the same year. 2020 was third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest on record for the UK.
Lead author and Senior Climate Scientist at the Met Office, Mike Kendon, said: “2020 was another notable year for the UK climate, with records broken for daily rainfall and monthly sunshine hours. Average temperatures for the UK continue to climb, with nearly a degree of warming when comparing the most recent 30 years with the preceding 30-year period. Last year saw some significant weather extremes including severe flooding from heavy rainfall in February and a major heatwave in early August.”
Read the paper: Kendon, M., McCarthy, M., Jevrejeva, S., Matthews, A., Sparks, T., & Garforth, J. (2021). State of the UK Climate 2020. International Journal of Climatology, 41 ( Suppl. 2), 1– 76. doi.org/10.1002/joc.7285
Posted on: 29 July 2021