Climate change is “already being felt” in the UK according to the latest report, State of the UK Climate 2020, from the Met Office. 2020 had recorded some of the highest temperatures, rainfall and sunshine, marking the first year that all three weather conditions have been ranked in the top 10.
What is Happening?
- In the latest report on the state of the UK climate, climate change is “already being felt” in the UK as the country becomes progressively warmer with each passing year. 2020 was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eight sunniest year on record. All three records have made it into the top 10 ranking in UK climate history.
- The climate analysis comes days following extreme weather events occurring across the globe including fatal floods in Germany and China, as well as severe heat waves and wildfires in the west coast of Canada and US.
- All entries in the top 10 warmest years in the UK, which started back in 1884, have occurred since 2002.
- Temperatures have been 0.9°C warmer across all months and regions in the UK within the last 30 years since 1991 compared to the preceding 30-year period, and are increasing at a slightly higher rate than the observed change in global mean temperature.
- The country, already known for its rainy climates, is also getting wetter. The UK has been on average 6% wetter in the last 30 years. Six of the wettest years have occurred since 1998, five of which have occurred in the span of 12 months.
- 2020 was the seventh consecutive year where the number of air and ground frosts was below the 1981–2010 average. While substantial snow fell in 2018, 2013, 2010 and 2009, the number and severity of snow have declined since the 1960s, as evidenced by 2020 being one of the least snowy years on record.
- Average sea-surface temperature in 2020 was 11.9°C, 0.5°C higher than the 1981-2010 average.
- Professor Ed Hill, Director the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, which manages the global database of average sea levels from tide gauges around the world, commented on the latest figures: “Based on five long‐running stations dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, UK sea level has risen by nearly 2cm per decade over the 60 years to 2018 and an immediate consequence will be higher extreme sea levels during high tides and storms which cause flooding.
- Extreme weather events have also become more frequent. A record 634 flood warnings were issued for England following Storm Dennis, due to storms Ciara and Dennis, which arrived in the UK only a week apart.
- These progressively more extreme weather events will and have already impacted wildlife in the UK as the report had found 2020 notable experiencing early first leaf dates and also earlier bare tree dates.
Featured image by: Flickr