Average spring temperatures across the UK have risen by approximately 1°C – but that doesn’t make it safe to plant out those tomatoes.
The Met Office is warning gardeners to beware of spring frosts, and not be lulled into a false sense of security by warmer weather. The moral – again – is that climate change does not have a silver lining.
The average temperature for meteorological spring (March, April and May) across the UK was 7.1°C in 1961–1990, but in 2007–2016 it had risen to 8.1°C. The three warmest UK springs have occurred in the last ten years: 2011, 2014 and 2007. Of the ten warmest springs since 1910, five have occurred since 2000.
Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, says, “Within many people’s lifetimes, spring in the UK has become appreciably warmer. The average spring temperature across the UK has risen by about 1°C and the number of days recording grass frost has fallen slightly, particularly for Scotland.” The average number of days of spring ground frost across the UK was 37 in 1961–90, but by 2007–16 it had fallen to 33. However, the threat of frost still persists right through May in most parts of the country – so keep tender plants under cover and the bubble-wrap on stand-by.
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