Climate change is having ‘an increasing impact’ on the UK, the Met Office says (Picture: PA) 2019 saw UK temperature records tumble as the climate crisis had ‘an increasing impact’ on the country, the Met Office has warned.
The latest annual State of the UK Climate review shows the country continuing to warm, with 2019’s average temperature 1.1C above long-term 1961-1990 levels.
The most recent decade has been 0.9C warmer across the UK than the 1961-1990 average, the report added, as experts warned it represented records ‘we shouldn’t be breaking’ – with the country set to bake in the hottest day of the year yet .
Last year was most notable for breaking records, with the UK recording its hottest temperature ever as the mercury soared to 38.7C (101.7F) at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens on July 25.
That was not the only temperature high seen in 2019, with a new winter record of 21.2C (70.2F) set on February 26, at London’s Kew Gardens, the first time 20C has been reached in the UK in a winter month.
There was also a new December record of 18.7C (65.7F)on the 28th in Achfary, Sutherland.
A new record for the mildest daily minimum temperature for February was set when temperatures did not dip below 13.9C (57F) in Achnagart in the Highlands on the 23rd.
No cold temperature records were set last year, the report added.
Waves batter the coast at Porthleven, Cornwall amid Storm Freya in March last year (Picture: PA) The changing climate is also bringing other extremes, with flooding hitting parts of Lincolnshire in mid-June, parts of the Pennines and northern England in late July, and South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire in November 2019.
All of the 10 warmest years in the UK in records dating back to 1884 have occurred since 2002, though 2019 was outside the top 10, in 12th place.
And the Central England Temperature series, the longest continuous temperature record in the world, which has data for an area of central England stretching back to 1659, provides evidence that the 21st century so far has overall been warmer than the previous three centuries, the Met Office said.
Met Office lead author Mike Kendon said: ‘Our report shows climate change is exerting an increasing impact on the UK’s climate.
‘This year was warmer than any other year in the UK between 1884 and 1990, and since 2002 we have seen the warmest 10 years in the series.
Flooding in Lincolnshire in June 2019, when there were two months worth of rain in two days (Picture: PA) ‘By contrast, to find a year in the coldest 10 we have to go back to 1963 – over 50 years ago.’
Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: ‘The climate statistics over time reveal an undeniable warming trend for the UK.
‘We are also reporting on changes in other aspects of our weather and environment, such as rainfall, snow, sunshine, sea level and even tree leafing dates.
‘The observed changes are to varying degrees a consequence of both global climate change and natural variability in our climate.’
The report includes data on the changing seasons in the natural world, gathered by the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar citizen science scheme.
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Temperatures to soar into the weekend as it reaches 30°C on Friday The organisation’s chief executive, Darren Moorcroft, added: ‘In response to the warm winter and mild spring temperatures, the first leaves appeared on trees nearly 10 days earlier in 2019, compared to our baseline period.
‘Whilst this may not sound like much, research using these citizen science records has shown this can have dire impacts further down the food chain.
‘This is a stark reminder of the need to take immediate action on climate change.’
The World Wildlife Fund also expressed major concern and called for the UK to show ‘global leadership when its hosts the UN climate conference next year.
Its Head of Climate Change, Gareth Redmond King, said: ‘These are records we shouldn’t be breaking.
‘Tropical temperatures may be nice on occasion, but here in the UK they are a stark reminder that we are in a climate crisis. This is a global problem – over the past year we have seen fires in the Amazon, Australia and the Arctic.’
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