News ID: 272252
Published: 1044 GMT July 31, 2020

Climate change 'driving UK's extreme weather'

Climate change 'driving UK's extreme weather'
A record-breaking temperature of 38.7°C (101.7°F) was recorded at Cambridge University Botanic Garden in July 2019. (CUBG)

Climate change driven by industrial society is having an increasing impact on the UK’s weather, the Met Office said.

Its annual UK report confirms that 2019 was the 12th warmest year in a series from 1884, BBC reported.

Although it does not make the top 10, the report said 2019 was remarkable for high temperature records in the UK.

There was also a severe swing in weather from the soaking winter to the sunny spring.

The temperature extremes were:


● A new UK maximum record (38.7°C) on July 25, in Cambridge

● A new winter maximum record (21.2°C) on February 26, in Kew Gardens, London — the first time 20°C has been reached in the UK in winter

● A new December maximum record (18.7°C) on December 28, in Achfary, Sutherland

● A new February minimum record (13.9°C) on February 23, in Achnagart, Highland


No national low temperature records were set in the State of the UK Climate report, published by the Royal Meteorological Society.

It showed that UK temperatures in 2019 were 1.1°C above the 1961-1990 long-term average.

Mike Kendon, lead author of the report, said: “Our report shows climate change is exerting an increasing impact on the UK.

“This year was warmer than any other year in the UK between 1884 and 1990, and to find a year in the coldest 10 we have to go back to 1963.”

The Central England Temperature series is the longest instrumental record of temperature in the world, stretching back to 1659.

Mark McCarthy, from the Met Office, added it was a particularly wet year across parts of central and northern England.

He said Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Cheshire received between a quarter to one third more rainfall than normal. For northern England this was the ninth wettest year in a series from 1862.

He said: "It is worth noting that since 2009 the UK has now had its wettest February, April, June, November and December on record — five out of 12 months."

Hannah Cloke, professor of hydrology at the University of Reading, identified a number of concerning trends.

She said: "As well as extreme hot temperatures, the stand-out weather events in 2019 were the many different types of floods, causing millions of pounds worth of damage and causing misery to many people.

“The picture that emerges is of the multiple flooding threats that are facing the UK, many of which are exacerbated by climate change."

She cited as examples summer flashfloods caused by extreme downpours, extensive autumn and winter river floods caused by persistent heavy rain and storms, and a backdrop of continued sea-level rises heightening the risk of coastal floods.

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