Record summer heatwaves, drought, winter storms and colder-than-average December
[29 Dicembre 2022]
According to provisional data up to December 27, 2022 from the UK Met Office, one of the world’s reference meteorological centres, «2022 will see the highest average annual temperature across the UK, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 when the average was 9.88°C. Since 1884, all 10 years with the highest annual temperature since 2003 have been verified. The final provisional figure for 2022 will be available at the end of the year and will therefore go through an additional process of quality control and verification. 2022 will also be the warmest year on record in central England’s 364-year temperature series since 1659, the world’s longest-running temperature record.
Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “2022 will be the hottest year on record for the UK. While many will remember the sweltering summer heat, what was notable this year was the relatively consistent heat throughout the year. All months except December are above average.A warmer year is consistent with the real impacts we would expect from human-induced climate change.While this does not mean that every year will be the warmest on record, climate change continues to increase the chances of warmer years increasingly in the coming decades.
In Britain, this year started with New Year’s Day which is the hottest ever in relation to the maximum temperature. 16.3°C was recorded in St James’ Park in London and the mild weather continued for most of 2022 with days hotter than average and days less cold than average. The Met Office states that “Temperatures remained above average for every month of the year in 2022, with the exception of December which was cooler than average so far. While many will remember the unprecedented heat of July, the persistence of Warmer-than-average conditions led to a record-breaking temperature in 2022.
The UK’s fourth-best summer was confirmed by an all-time record of 40.3°C in Coningsby, Lincolnshire, which surpassed the previous UK record by 1.6°C. A scorching July saw the Met Office issue its first-ever red alert for extreme heat, with widespread effects across the UK: Wales also recorded a new daily temperature record of 37.1°C and Scotland set a new record of 34.8°C.
But the first two weeks of December were the coldest since 2010, with temperatures dropping to -17.3°C in Braemar on December 13 as cold air from the north affected UK weather. Until December 27, the average temperature in the UK was only 2.4°C, or 1.8°C lower than the average for the month. Also, although it wasn’t a white Christmas for the vast majority of the UK, there was very little snow and sleet at Christmas in some locations in northwest Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland,” which means that technically it was a white Christmas. ,” they say at the Met Office.
All four seasons in 2022 were among the 10 warmest seasons on record in the UK: it was the eighth warmest winter, fifth warmest spring, fourth warmest summer and third warmest autumn. McCarthy highlights that “2022 was dominated by above-average temperatures. The record high temperatures in July certainly raised the overall temperatures for the year, but that’s not all. Temperatures have been above the 1991-2020 long-term average for most of the year, which is something we can expect as we are increasingly affected by climate change. Met Bureau science has shown that the temperatures seen in mid-July would have been extremely unlikely in the pre-industrial period, the era before humanity began emitting a lot of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. However, as we saw in the first two weeks of December, our climate is still prone to severe cold spells during the winter, but our monitoring data shows that these episodes are generally becoming less frequent and less intense as our climate warms.”
The 2022 UK was marked by dry conditions: apart from short periods in early January and late February, the total precipitation accumulation remained consistently below the annual average. Summer 2022 was the 10th driest on record in the UK, with the south and east of the country being particularly dry. Some places in the south and east of England had almost no rain in July, and by the end of August it was the driest year since 1976. Mark McCarthy adds: “Despite recent rain, the year was still dry in most parts of the country, particularly in south and east.
Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex will experience one of the driest years on record in the top 10, and whether or not they will be the driest is determined by how much rain falls in the last few days of December. So far the south of England has seen just over three quarters of the precipitation you would normally expect in a year. On the flip side, the western regions of Scotland saw more precipitation at a level closer to long-term annual averages, but even here many locations are likely to end the year drier than average. The Western Isles, Perth, Kinross, Angus and Aberdeenshire are some of the areas that have come close to the long-term average amount of rain for the year.
There have been 4 named storms in Britain in 2022 and three have occurred within one week: Dudley, Eunice and Franklin hit the UK in February 2022 Eunice sounding red wind alerts and setting a new top speed record for England at 122mph at Needles-on-Isle-of White. There is no evidence of a trend toward more storms due to climate change, Mark McCarthy said, but this period of impactful weather in February is certainly noteworthy. It was the first time that three named storms had hit the UK in one week, with Eunice particularly affecting large parts of southern England and Wales. It is also worth noting that there have been no specific storms hitting the UK since that week in February.
Hours of sunshine were plentiful in the UK in 2022, according to interim data from the Met Office. With only a few days left in December, the UK already saw 9% more hours of sunshine than the annual average, with a steady increase in southern and eastern regions. East Anglia already has 20% more sunshine hours than average, making 2022 the brightest year on record for the region.
Mark McCarthy concludes: “By the start of December, the UK had already seen more hours of sunshine than average for the whole year. The sunniest parts of the UK consistently are in the south and east. We already know it will be ten best years for hours.” Sunshine in the UK England is likely to have sunny figures in the first three sunniest years on record.
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