The Met Office has said that 2023 was provisionally the second warmest year on record for the UK, with Wales and Northern Ireland having their respective warmest years in a series from 1884.
UK mean temperatures have been shifting over the decades as a result of human-induced climate change.
The trend in UK climate observations is consistent with that observed globally: 2023 is on track to be Earth’s warmest year on record, while carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere are at their highest for at least 2 million years.
The five warmest years in the UK series from 1884 include 2022, 2023, and 2020 and the ten warmest years have all occurred since 2003.
2023’s provisional mean temperature of 9.97°C puts it just behind 2022’s figure of 10.03°C and ahead of 2014’s 9.88°C. 2023 was also ranked as the second warmest for Central England Temperature (CET), the world’s longest instrumental temperature series from 1659.
Met Office Senior Scientist Mike Kendon said, “The observations of the UK climate are clear. Climate change is influencing UK temperature records over the long term, with 2023 going down as another very warm year and the second warmest on record. Had the 2023 value occurred during the 20th Century, it would have been, by far, the warmest year on record.
“While our climate will remain variable, with periods of cold and wet weather, what we have observed over recent decades is a number of high temperature records tumbling.
“We expect this pattern to continue as our climate continues to change in the coming years as a result of human-induced climate change.”