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May and spring were warmest on record in UK, Met Office says
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May and spring were warmest on record in UK, Met Office says

The UK had its warmest May and spring on record, despite the wet, dull conditions for many parts of the country, provisional Met Office figures show.

The average temperature in May was 13.1C (55.6F), beating the previous record in 2008 by a full 1C, making it the warmest May in records dating back to 1884.

The Met Office said the month’s high average temperatures were influenced particularly by warm conditions in the northern half of the UK, and by high overnight temperatures.

The meteorological spring, which covers March, April and May, was also the warmest on record, with an average mean temperature across that period in the UK of 9.37C. This beat the previous record of 9.12C set in 2017, with the warm conditions influenced by high overnight temperatures. Eight of the top 10 warmest springs have occurred this century, including all of the top five.

The Met Office said the UK’s climate was changing, with recent decades warmer, wetter and sunnier than the 20th century, while natural variation also plays a part in the country’s weather.

The world has experienced a streak of record temperatures, continuing for 11 months in a row up to April 2024, which was the hottest ever recorded, data released last month showed.

Climate breakdown caused by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests, is pushing up temperatures around the world and causing more extreme weather such as droughts, heatwaves and intense rainfall.

For the UK in May, Scotland was particularly warm, with a mean temperature of 12.3C, beating 2018’s previous record by 1.6C.

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The UK also had its wettest spring since 1986 and the sixth wettest on record, the Met Office added. An average 301.7mm (11.87in) of rain fell on the country across March, April and May, nearly a third (32%) more than usual for the season.

The wettest spring on record was in 1979, when the UK experienced an average 327.0mm of rain.

A Met Office spokesperson said: “While it may not have felt like it for many, with sunshine in relatively short supply, provisional figures show May was the warmest on record in our series back to 1884.

“This warmth was especially influenced by high overnight temperatures, with the average UK minimum temperature for May 1.2C higher than the previous record.

“Rainfall was above average for the UK, while some areas in the south saw over a third more rain than average.

“In contrast, Northern Ireland and Scotland were slightly drier than average in the month.”

Georgia Whitaker, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “On the tail of the world’s hottest year, and the UK’s wettest 18 months on record, we have the UK’s hottest spring on record, and it’s still wet. While climate records keep tumbling and people’s concerns growing, our government is largely missing in action. We must hold them to account.”

Source: theguardian.com