The UK’s weather is becoming increasingly extreme, with more ‘tropical nights’ on the way.
That’s according to a new report from the Met Office, which studies how the nation’s climate has changed since the 1960s – it shows the hottest day of each year over the last decade has been an average of 0.8 °C warmer than the hottest day of each year over the period 1961-1990, increasing from 26°C to 26.8°C.
The lowest temperature of the year has shown an even greater increase, becoming 1.7 °C milder, with ‘tropical nights’ becoming increasingly common – these are defined as 24-hour periods when the minimum temperature doesn’t fall below 20°C.
The annual count of days where the daily maximum temperature was above 25°C has also risen, from an average of 4.5 days a year between 1961 and 1990 to an average of 5.3 days between 2008 and 2017.
Warmer six-day spells have more than doubled in duration in recent times but the longest dry spells have decreased by an average of 2.5 days – total rainfall from extremely wet days has increased by about 17%.
Dr Mark McCarthy. Head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “Monthly, seasonal and annual climate data provide a valuable record of the changing climate in the UK. However, these average figures have a tendency to mask extreme weather and climate events.
“So in our latest report we have focussed on those measures which record weather extremes, complementing our recently published State of the UK climate 2017 report, which shows how the UK’s climate is changing.”