Britain’s 10 hottest years on record ‘all happened since 2002’, Met Office says

Rob Waugh
Could heatwaves become the norm? (Getty)

Anyone who sweated through last week’s heatwave might have a suspicion that Britain is getting hotter - and new Met Office stats just confirmed it.

The 10 hottest years since records began in the 10th century all happened within the last 17 years, since 2002.

And just in case anyone doubts that the climate is warming, none of the 10 coldest years have happened in the past half-century, since 1963.

In the Met Office’s latest annual state of the climate report, the temperature series for the UK has been extended back by 26 years from 1910, as the data was added as part of ongoing work to digitise historic weather records.


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Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s national climate information centre, said: 'Looking back further into the UK’s weather reveals a very interesting timeline, with the top ten warmest years at the most recent end, since 2002.

A sunbather enjoys the sun on Bournemouth beach (BRITAIN - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY)

'Extending the record back by 26 years from 1910 to 1884 didn’t bring in any new warm years, but it did bring in a number of new cold years, including several that are now within the top ten coldest years.'

The records now show 1892 as the coldest year, with the average temperature of just over 7C (44.6F), while the warmest year was 2014, with an average temperature approaching 10C (50F), he said.

The top 10 hottest years are (in order): 2014; 2006; 2011; 2007; 2017; 2003; 2018; 2004; 2002; and 2005.

The coldest years in the record are: 1892; 1888; 1885; 1963; 1919; 1886; 1917; 1909; 1887; and 1962.

The annual report shows that 2018 joined the top 10 warmest years at number seven, despite the severe 'beast from the East' cold snap early in the year.

The cold weather saw the UK having the most significant snowfall since 2010 last year, though generally snow events have declined since the 1960s, the Met Office said.

In a year of extremes, the UK also saw a heatwave last summer, which the experts said was made 30 times more likely by climate change, and the season was the equal-hottest summer on record along with 2006.

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