2011 second warmest year on record
Published 30/12/2011 | 13:02
The past year has been the second warmest on record, the Met Office has said, despite the summer being disappointingly cool.
It said provisional figures show that only 2006, with an average temperature of 49.5F (9.73C) was warmer than 2011's average temperature of 49.3F (9.62C).
Unusually warm autumn and spring temperatures meant that apart from January, which endured the knock on from the cold December in 2010, the only other months that had below-average temperatures were June, July and August.
2011 was also one of the driest - or the wettest, depending on where you live - with Scotland suffering its dampest ever year but some English regions seeing some of their driest ever months and a drought order granted in the South East earlier this month.
Stephen Davenport, senior meteorologist at MeteoGroup, said 2011 had been a "peculiar" year, including the second warmest November on record.
"It has been peculiar in that we have seen a relatively cool summer sandwiched between a warm spring and autumn," he said. "There were only four months with below-average temperatures and one of them was January following on from the cold December last year."
All bar one of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1997 and all the UK's top seven warmest years happened in the last decade. Despite this year seeing high temperatures for long periods, early figures suggest we are ending 2011 with a "close to average" December.
John Prior, national climate manager at the Met Office, said: "While it may have felt mild for many so far this December, temperatures overall have been close to what we would expect. It may be that the stark change from last year, which was the coldest December on record for the UK, has led many to think it has been unseasonably warm."
The warmest temperature recorded this year - 91.5F (33.1C) on June 27 at Gravesend in Kent - was the warmest temperature recorded in the UK for five years. But this was one of just a few hot days in a rather cool summer which was book-ended by the warm spring and autumn.
Gravesend was again the location for the warmest October temperature ever, when 85.8F (29.9C) was recorded on October 1, beating the previous record of 84.9F (29.4C) at March in Cambridgeshire on the same day in 1985.