It is almost a record breaking 2022 as with days left provisional Met Office figures say it will be the warmest year on record for the UK.
Following the trend where the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 2003, 2022 has been no different with all four seasons falling in the top ten of a series which began in 1884.
As well as setting a new 139-year annual mean temperature record, 2022 will also be remembered for several other significant weather events.
Figures sited are provisional Met Office figures up to 27 December 2022.
Warmest Year On Record
2022 will see the highest annual average temperature across the UK, exceeding the previous record set in 2014 when the average was 9.88C.
The final provisional figure for 2022 will be available at the conclusion of the year and will then be subject to further quality control and a verification process.
Since 1884, all the ten years recording the highest annual temperature have occurred from 2003.
2022 will also be the warmest year on record in the 364-year Central England temperature series from 1659, the world’s longest instrumental record of temperature.
Dr Mark McCarthy is the head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “2022 is going to be the warmest year on record for the UK.
“While many will remember the summer’s extreme heat, what has been noteworthy this year has been the relatively consistent heat through the year, with every month except December being warmer than average.
“The warm year is in line with the genuine impacts we expect as a result of human-induced climate change.
“Although it doesn’t mean every year will be the warmest on record, climate change continues to increase the chances of increasingly warm years over the coming decades.”
High Temperatures Start 2022
The year started with a mild theme with New Year’s Day the warmest on record according to maximum temperature as 16.3C was recorded at St James’s Park, London and that mild theme was replicated through much of 2022 with more warmer than average days and fewer cooler than average days.
Temperatures remained above average for every month of the year in 2022, except December which has been cooler than average so far.
While many will remember the unprecedented heat of July, it is the persistence of warmer than average conditions that have resulted in 2022 breaking the annual temperature record.
The fourth warmest summer in the series for the UK was underlined with temperatures in excess of 40C recorded in the UK for the first time.
Coningsby, Lincolnshire, recorded the highest temperature, with 40.3C exceeding the previous UK record by 1.6C.
The hot period in July saw the Met Office issue its first ever red warning for extreme heat with widespread impacts for the UK.
Wales also recorded a new daily maximum temperature record of 37.1C, with Scotland seeing a new record of 34.8C.
Anomalously Cold December
2022 has seen the coldest first two weeks of December since 2010.
Temperatures dropped as low as –17.3C at Braemar, Scotland on December 13 as cool northerly air influenced the UK weather.
Up to December 27, average mean temperature for the UK is just 2.4C, which is 1.8C below the average for the month.
In addition, while it wasn’t a White Christmas for the vast majority of the UK, some small amounts of snow and sleet were recorded falling on Christmas Day at some stations in the northwest of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland, meaning it has technically been a White Christmas.
All four seasons in 2022 were in the top 10 warmest on record for the UK.
Winter was the eighth warmest, spring the fifth warmest, summer the fourth warmest and autumn the third warmest.
Dr Mark McCarthy continued: “2022 has been dominated by higher than average temperatures.
“The record-breaking temperatures in July have certainly boosted the overall temperature values for the year, but that isn’t the full story.
“Temperatures have been above the 1991-2020 long term average for a large proportion of the year, and this is something that we can anticipate as we become increasingly affected by climate change.
“Met Office science has shown that the temperatures witnessed in mid-July would have been extremely unlikely in the pre-industrial period – the era before humanity started emitting lots of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
“However, as we have seen in the first two weeks of December, our climate is still subject to notable cold spells during the winter season, but our observational data show these have generally become less frequent and less severe as our climate warms.”
Sunshine hours have been in good supply in the UK for 2022 according to provisional Met Office figures.
With a few days of December still to go, the UK has already seen 9 percent more sunshine hours than average for the whole of the year.
This has been spurred on by areas to the south and east. East Anglia has already had 20 percent more sunshine hours than its average, making it the sunniest year on record for the region, with some time left in the year for that figure to increase further.
“By the start of December the UK had already seen more sunshine hours than average for the whole of the year.
“The most consistently bright parts of the UK have been in the south and east. We already know that it’ll be a top 10 year for sunshine hours in the UK, with England likely to have sunshine figures in the top three sunniest years on record,” concluded Dr Mark McCarthy.