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UK undergoing hotter, wetter weather

By EARLE GALE in London | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-01 09:27

People dip their feet in a water feature during their lunch break as they enjoy the hot weather, in London, July 25, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

The United Kingdom is becoming hotter and wetter, according to the nation's official weather service, the Met Office.

The government-run meteorological agency also says in its fifth annual report on the UK's climate that snowy weather is becoming increasingly rare in the British Isles.

Mike Kendon, a climate scientist and co-author of the report, told the Guardian newspaper the results reflect worldwide trends.

"Climate change is not some abstract thing in the future that we are predicting is going to happen," he said. "The point is that climate change is happening and it is happening now."

In a strange coincidence, the State of the UK Climate report was released days after the Met Office confirmed the UK had experienced its highest-ever recorded temperature: 38.7 C.

The report, which was published in the International Journal of Climatology, looks at trends stretching back to 1884 and says the UK's average surface sea temperature between 2009 and 2018 was 0.6 C warmer than the average between 1961 and 1990. There were also 15 percent fewer frosty days in a comparison of the two time periods.

One of the most striking findings was that the UK's 10 warmest years were all recorded after 2002, while most of its coldest years happened before 1920.

The UK's coldest year, 1892, had an average annual temperature of a little more than 7 C, while its warmest, 2014, had an average annual temperature of almost 10 C.

"These are very profound changes in the climate that are very disturbing to see," Kendon said while explaining that such changes have many effects, including on public health and national infrastructure.

Mark McCarthy, who co-wrote the report, told the BBC the document catalogs climate change.

"It's certainly what we'd expect to see," he said. "Our climate in the UK has warmed at a very similar amount to the global temperature rise, so just under 1 C for the UK. Under that warming climate, we would expect that the hot extremes would tend to cluster in more recent times and the colder extremes are further back in time."

As the UK has become warmer, it has also become wetter, with 12 percent more rain falling in recent years compared to the average between 1961 and 1990. Six of the UK's 10 wettest years have occurred since 1998.

The Sun newspaper said heat waves are 30 times more likely because of climate change and quoted Michael Byrne, from the University of St Andrews, as saying the government must prepare to ensure the changes are not catastrophic.

"With global emissions of greenhouse gases on the rise, the UK will continue to get warmer and wetter as global warming accelerates," he said.

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