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expert reaction to Met Office’s latest annual State of the UK Climate report, reporting that the ten hottest years in the UK have all been since 2002

A report, published in the International Journal of Climatology, reports that the ten hottest years in the UK have all been since 2002.


Dr Michael Byrne, Lecturer in Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of St Andrews, said:

“It is hugely significant, though not surprising, that the UK’s top ten warmest years have all occurred since 2002 and that summer 2018 was the joint-hottest ever.  The world has warmed 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, meaning that hot years are the new normal.  Not only is the UK getting warmer but also wetter, with 13% more summer rain compared to last century.  With global emissions of greenhouse gases on the rise, the UK will continue to get warmer and wetter as global warming accelerates.  The science of climate change is now clear.  The UK government must ramp up preparations and ensure that our infrastructure and citizens are prepared for what is to come.”


Prof Gabi Hegerl FRS, Professor of Climate System Science, University of Edinburgh, said:

“That all 10 warmest years in the UK occurred in the 21st century is quite surprising and illustrates dramatically how climate change is becoming a major factor even for regional climate and the climate we experience on our doorstep.  We expect climate variability to cause a lot of variations from year to year in the UK, such as cold winters if we have more easterly wind – as we did during the Beast from the East.  But on average over the year, even for a rather small area (globally) such as the UK, the warming is becoming obvious.  It is also interesting that a high number of the wettest years in the UK occurred recently, showing that climate change starts to show up even in highly variable aspects of weather such as rainfall.  Climate change already matters to the UK and makes a difference.”


* ‘State of the UK climate 2018’ by Mike Kendon et al. was published in the International Journal of Climatology at 00:01 UK time on Wednesday 31 July 2019. 

DOI: 10.1002/joc.6213


Declared interests

Dr Michael Byrne: “No interests to declare.”

Prof Gabi Hegerl: “No interest at present, I chaired the Hadley Centre scientific advisory board a while ago, but that was a while ago (and is a hands off independent committee anyway).”


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