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State of the UK Climate 2021


The UK’s climate is changing according to the State of the UK Climate 2021 report. Recent decades have been warmer, wetter and sunnier than the 20th century, it says.


2021 was the 18th warmest year since 1884. Winter and Spring were colder than average, but then we had the 9th warmest Summer and the 3rd warmest Autumn.

The decade 2012-21 was:

  • 0.2C warmer than the 1991-2020 average, and
  • 1.0C warmer than the 1961-1990 average

Sea surface temperatures were also warmer than average.


Rainfall in 2021 was slightly under the 1991-2020 average, and slightly above the 1961-1990 mean. The year saw the 5th driest April, and the 2nd wettest May, since 1836.

Five of the ten wettest years since 1836 have occurred this century.

There was widespread snow in February 2021, but overall the number and severity of snow events has declined since the 1960s.

Recent Heatwave

The recent heatwave is of course not covered by the State of the UK Climate 2021 report, but scientists at the World Weather Attribution Group say it would have been ‘basically impossible’ without human-caused climate change.

Maximum temperatures would have been 2 to 4C cooler without global heating.

State of the UK Climate 2021

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