UK temperature data confirms a four-way tie
After assessing UK temperature data for summer 2018 and comparing it with previous records, the Met Office has decreed that the figures are so close that the result is a four-way tie. This has been the joint hottest summer together with 2006, 2003 and 1976, in records going back to 1910 ¬– despite the fact that after an alarmingly (albeit enjoyably) hot June and July, August was much closer to normal, with the mean (24-hour) UK temperature less than half a degree above average.
The Met Office explains that it normally only quotes statistics to the nearest 0.1°C, as differences smaller than this could result from numerical differences arising from the calculations, and the margin between the mean temperatures for the four years is so small – within 0.03°C – that it is impossible to separate them. The nominal temperatures are 15.80°C for summer 2018, 15.78°C for 2006, 15.77°C for 2003, and 15.77°C for 1976 – but all will be quoted as 15.8°C.
The mean summer 2018 temperatures for the four UK nations were 17.2°C for England, 16.0°C for Wales, 15.1°C for Northern Ireland and 13.6°C for Scotland. This year’s summer will therefore go down as the warmest on record for England, beating 1976’s record of 17.0°C. However, the existing records for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland will stand.
A longer-term perspective for England is provided by the Central England Temperature (CET) series, which covers a roughly triangular area enclosed by Bristol, Lancashire and London. This monthly series began in 1659, and is the longest available instrumental record of temperature in the world.
In this dataset, summer 2018 looks likely to come third, behind the summers of 1976 and 1826. Only 10 summers in the CET series recorded an average temperature above 17°C. Six of those have occurred since 1976, and only two (1826 and 1846) were pre-20th-century, which is consistent with the general picture of climate change.
Find out more at https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2018/end-of-summer-statsEnjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.