How Climate Change Has Influenced the UK Climate 

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‘State of the UK Climate’ is annually published by the Met Office. This provides an up-to-date assessment of the UK climate. The 2019 report is published as a special issue of the International Journal of Climatology.  

Climate Change

The 2019 report published on 31 July 2020 sheds lights on variation in different dimensions of UK climate over time indicating ‘climate change’ has influenced ‘UK climate’ considerably.  

With respect to the land temperature, the year 2019 was the 12th warmest year in a series from 1884 and 24th warmest for Central England in a series from 1659. Four national UK high temperature records were set in 2019: a new all-time record (38.7oC), a new winter record (21.2 oC), a new December record (18.7oC) and a new February minimum temperature record (13.9 oC). Further, the most recent decade (2010–2019) has been on average 0.3oC warmer than the 1981–2010 average and 0.9 oC warmer than 1961–1990. Clearly, impact of global warming on UK climate is very much appreciable.  

For air and ground frost, 2019 was the sixth consecutive year where the number of air and ground frosts was below average. 

There is a trend of increased precipitation. The 2019 rainfall for the UK overall was 107% of the 1981–2010 average and 112% of the 1961–1990 average. For the most recent decade (2010–2019) UK summers have been on average 11% wetter than 1981–2010 and 13% wetter than 1961–1990. UK winters have been 4% wetter than 1981–2010 and 12% wetter than 1961–1990. 

Similarly, 2019 sunshine for the UK overall was 105% of the 1981–2010 average and 109% of 1961–1990 average. 

With respect to sea level, the UK mean sea level index for 2019 was the highest in the series from 1901, although uncertainties in the series mean caution is needed when comparing individual years. Mean sea level around the UK has risen by approximately 1.4 mm per year from the start of the 20th century, when excluding the effect of vertical land movement. The 99th percentile water level (exceeded 1% of the time) at Newlyn, Cornwall for year 2019 was the third highest in the series from 1916, behind years 2014 and 2018. 

So, the above information about changes in temperature, frost, rainfall, sunshine and sea level over previous years and decades suggest the increased influence of climate change on UK climate.  

Source:  

Kendon M., McCarthy M., Jevrejeva S., et al 2020. State of the UK Climate 2019. International Journal of Climatology. Volume 40, Issue S1.  First published: 30 July 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.6726  

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