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Highest ever UK winter and annual temperatures in 2019

Last year, 2019, was a year of extremes – record-breaking heat and rain, along with notable spells of cold and windy weather, according to the Met Office. 

It was unusual in containing two all-time temperature highs – the warmest winter day on record (21.2°C at Kew Gardens on 26 February) and the hottest day on record: 38.7°C recorded at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens on 25 July. 

The Head of the UK Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, Dr Mark McCarthy, was in no doubt as to the cause of the highs, saying that the year: ‘continued a pattern of high temperature records in the UK over the last few decades, as a result of our warming climate.’ 

The Met Office adds that the decade 2010 to 2019 holds eight high UK temperature records, compared with only one low temperature record in the set of official Met Office UK climate extremes. 

Variability in UK weather and climate mean that even as the average temperature increases, cold extremes currently can and do still occur – for example the ‘beast from the east’ in 2018 resulted in the coldest March day on record with a maximum of -4.7 °C recorded at Tredegar in South Wales. However, during the 2010s these occurrences have been outnumbered by high temperature extremes. 

The 2010s have been the second warmest and second wettest of the ‘cardinal’ decades (those spanning years ending 0–9) over the last 100 years of UK weather records, in both cases being slightly behind the 2000s. UK climate has relatively large year-to-year variability. 

The UK climate is warming, says the Met Office, but this does not mean every decade will be significantly warmer than the one preceding it. For example the cold year of 2010 influences the statistics for this most recent decade, but cold years like 2010 occur much less frequently now than in the past. 

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Countries: United Kingdom -

Subjects: Climate change - Heat - Metering, monitoring and targeting -

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