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Met Office – Climate change continues to be evident across the UK

River Aire in flood. From heavy rain during storm Dennis in February 2020. Image - Andrew Abbott , CC SA 2.0
River Aire in flood. From heavy rain during storm Dennis in February 2020. Image - Andrew Abbott , CC SA 2.0

The United Kingdom’s climate has continued to warm, with the decade 2011–2020 providing a 10-year “snapshot” of the most recent of the UK’s climate events and how this compares to historical records. 

According to the Met Office, The Royal Meteorological Society’s latest analysis of the UK climate – “State of the UK Climate 2020” – published in the International Journal of Climatology on July 28, shows that climate change is already being felt across the UK.

The report makes use of observational records on temperature, precipitation, sunshine, and wind speed from the UK land weather station network as managed by the Met Office and a number of key partners, and conform with the standards of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

This most recent report is the seventh in a series of State of the Climate UK publications that provides an accessible, authoritative, and up-to-date assessment of UK climate trends, variations, and extremes.

With climate records and data dating back to 1884, the top ten warmest years in the UK have occurred since 2002, and looking at central England, the 21st century has turned out to be the warmest in three hundred years.

London: The Met Office issued an amber weather warning and said there was a risk of lightning strikes and flooding. — Photo: © AFP

More significantly, 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.”

Storms Ciara and Dennis, hitting the UK only one week apart in February brought devastating floods that impacted many homes and businesses. Some regions of te UK received as much as 300 to 400 percent more than the average rainfall typically seen in February.

In the opposite extreme, May 2020 was England’s driest calendar month since August 1995, with the dry weather making conditions difficult for farmers and growers.

Prof Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said: “We recognise the importance of this annual report, published in our International Journal of Climatology, for climate monitoring and collating observations in the UK. This rich legacy of observational data in the UK, stretching as far back as the 17th century, is extremely valuable for ongoing work in climate science, highlighting our changing climate in the UK and our understanding of climate trends, variations and extremes.”

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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