UK Temperatures 1884 – 2020

The freely available gridded data series for temperature by the Met Office has now been extended back to 1884, so I thought I would take a closer look at it by means of 12 month moving averages of maximum, mean and minimum temperature, by adding a couple of linear trends to see what it might reveal about how quickly the climate of the UK has been warming during the last 135 years. The chart below shows the full series back to 1884. There are a few notable spikes both upwards and downwards within that catch the eye. The cold winter of 1962-63 is very striking, so too for some reason is the warm end to the summer of 1959 that preceded it. The cold winter of 2010-11 stands out a bit as does the cold slump in temperatures between 1985-87, helped in no small part by January 1987 I should imagine, now that was a real beast from the east. The trend show gradual warming, nights seem to be warming more quickly than days, but both are fairly modest rises of no more than one degree per century.

The chart below is of the last thirty years since 1990, and you’ll notice that the linear trends are both a little steeper. In the last thirty years days are warming significantly faster (+0.205°C) than nights are (+0.142°C/decade), but both confirm that global warming is alive and kicking, even in our part of the world. This graph has numerous peaks and troughs along in it, there’s one marked peak which occurred in late 2006, and a trough in late 2012, but for the life of me I can’t recall what the weather was doing at the time of either!

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