The Met Office compared two 30-year periods (1961-1990 and 1991-2020) and found average increases of 0.8°C in temperature, 7.3% in rainfall and 5.6% in sunshine.
Differing temperature rises
Temperature rise has been greatest across parts of central and eastern England where temperatures have increased by more than 1°C in some locations including Bedfordshire and Leicestershire.
Further north in Scotland and Northern Ireland temperatures rises have been closer to 0.7°C.
Other findings include:
- Annual average rainfall has increased by more than 10% between the two periods across parts of south-west England and Wales. South Yorkshire has seen the smallest rise by volume with a rise of just over 14mm per year.
- The number of days with 1mm or more of rain a year has increased by an average of 5.6 days.
- The locations seeing the greatest annual percentage increases in sunshine have been in north-eastern and eastern England (increasing by more than 13%).
- The number of days of air frost (when the air temperature drops below 0°C) has reduced on average by 11.1 days. Many areas have seen a fall by 14 days per year, including Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Rutland and Staffordshire.
Measurement of climate against 30-year ‘averaging’ periods is in line with World Meteorological Organisation. They are benchmarks against which weather and climate records can be compared to provide context and a baseline for future climate projections.
The head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, Dr Mark McCarthy, said: “The average temperature between 1991-2020 in Hull has been warmer on average than Heathrow was during the previous climate averaging period 1961-1990.
"So average temperatures previously limited to London and parts of the far south of England are now experienced as much as 250 km (155 miles) further north.”