Impact of climate tangible as UK summer hits new heights

The UK Met Office has said the growing impact of climate change has continued as the country saw its hottest summer since records began.

This year’s summer is the joint warmest on record according to mean temperature. This means that four of the five warmest summers on record for England have occurred since 2003, as the effects of human-induced climate change are felt on England’s summer temperatures.

Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre said: “For many this summer’s record-breaking heat in July – where temperatures reached 40.3°C at Coningsby in Lincolnshire – will be the season’s most memorable aspect. However, for England to achieve its joint warmest summer takes more than extreme heat over a couple of days, so we shouldn’t forget that we experienced some persistently warm and hot spells through June and August too.”

High pressure has dominated the UK weather this summer bringing long spells of dry and warm weather to many areas allowing heatwaves to develop each month, but most notably in July. Overall, the UK has seen 62% of its summer rainfall and mean temperatures were 1.1°C above the average of 14.6°C.

In England the warm and dry conditions have been more notable, with the mean temperature the joint warmest ever recorded (17.1°C) equalling that of summer 2018, and some areas have seen less than 50% of their typical summer rainfall. The warmest and driest areas relative to average were in the East and for East Anglia and parts of northeast England it was the hottest summer on record.

The hot weather was not confined to England. It was provisionally the fourth warmest summer for the UK overall. The UKs warmest summers are all very close. They were 2018 (15.8°C), 2006 (15.8°C), 2003 (15.7°C), 2022 (15.7°C), 1976 (15.7°C). It was the eighth warmest summer for both Scotland and Wales and 12th warmest for Northern Ireland

“For England 2022 was the 6th driest summer on record (103mm), and driest since 1995 (66mm), in a series from 1836,” said the Met Office. “For the UK overall it was the 10th driest summer (156mm) and driest since 1995 (106mm). Some of the driest regions relative to average were in East Anglia. Suffolk had its 2nd driest summer behind 1921, and Norfolk its 3rd driest (behind 1921 and 1983). “

It added: “2022 started as it meant to go on with the warmest New Year’s day on record, and since then every month has been warmer than average through 2022 bringing the UK, the warmest first eight months of the year in a series that goes back to 1884.

McCarthy explained: “The average temperature for January to August for the UK in 2022 has been 10.51°C, making this year so far warmer than the previous record of 10.2°C in 2014. It is too early to speculate on how the year overall will finish, but the persistent warm conditions are certainly notable and have certainly been made more likely by climate change”

Following southern England’s driest July on record, August has provided some respite from the aridity, with rain and thunderstorms mid-month. However, this hasn’t been enough to bring us closer to our usual levels by this point in the year.

“Through August, the UK received 54% of the average rainfall (51mm), adding to the list of dry months in 2022,” McCarthy added. “So far in 2022, 538mm of rain has fallen on average in the UK and 348mm in England, meaning it has been the driest year so far for both the UK and England since 1976, ranking 15th and 5th driest respectively in a series that goes back to 1836.”

In England the warm and dry conditions have been more notable, with the mean temperature the joint warmest ever recorded (17.1°C) equalling that of summer 2018, and some areas have seen less than 50% of their typical summer rainfall. The warmest and driest areas relative to average were in the East and for East Anglia and parts of northeast England it was the hottest summer on record.

Click here to add your own text

SHARE: