LONDON, United Kingdom – British experts said on Wednesday that 2022 will be the warmest year in the United Kingdom on record, after a year of heatwaves and minimal rainfall.
The findings come as communities around the world have been hit by a catalog of extreme weather patterns this year, including rising temperatures and droughts across Europe that have left crops withered and wildfires ravaged swaths of land.
This year had the “highest annual average temperature in the whole of Britain, surpassing the previous record set in 2014 when the average was 9.88 degrees Celsius (49.78 degrees Fahrenheit),” the Met Office, the UK’s meteorological authority, said in a statement Explanation.
Since 1884, the UK has had every 10 years with the highest annual temperature from 2002, according to the forecasting body.
“2022 will be the warmest year on record for the UK. While many will remember the summer’s extreme heat, this year’s relatively consistent year-round heat was noteworthy,” said Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre.
Every month except December has been warmer than average, he said.
“The warm year is consistent with the real impacts we anticipate as a result of human-caused climate change.
“While this does not mean that every year will be the warmest on record, climate change continues to increase the likelihood of progressively warmer years in the coming decades,” he added.
Most of England and Wales experienced a drought this summer after exceptionally high temperatures and heat waves and little rain.
Similar conditions have been observed across Northwest Europe.
France also experienced its hottest year on record, the country’s national weather service said in November.
In July, England also broke its all-time temperature record when mercury topped 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, while July was the driest in the south on record.
In particular, the parched conditions caused the source of the Thames to dry up and shift several miles downstream.
Satellite imagery showed the country’s traditionally green and lush landscape turning various shades of yellow and brown as vast swaths of southern, central and eastern England dried up.
The Met Office said all four seasons in Britain in 2022 were in the top 10 warmest on record.
Winter was the eighth warmest, spring the fifth, summer the fourth, and autumn the third.
McCarthy said temperatures had been above the 1991-2020 long-term average for much of the year, adding that this is “something we can foresee as we are increasingly affected by climate change.”
“Met Office science has shown that the temperatures observed in mid-July would have been extremely unlikely in the pre-industrial era – the era before humanity began emitting many greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels,” he said.
Wrong type of record
Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels are heating the planet and increasing the risk and severity of droughts, heat waves and other extreme weather events.
An analysis by an international team of researchers published in July found that climate change caused by human activities has made this year’s heatwave in the UK at least 10 times more likely.
Rebecca Newsom, policy chief at Greenpeace UK, said the results were disappointing.
“These aren’t the kinds of records you want to break,” she said.
“I’m sure most of us would rather see record-breaking investments in renewable technologies that get us out of this mess,” she added.
Britain’s National Trust said earlier on Wednesday nature and wildlife at the charity’s sites had been damaged by extreme weather over the past year and warned it could become the “new normal”.
The final figures for 2022 will be announced by the Met Office at a later date. — Agence France-Presse