By Anders Lorenzen
The Met Office, the primary weather forecaster in the UK, has confirmed that the UK has broken the record for its warmest ever New Year’s Eve.
The news comes on the back of an unusually warm December month in the UK and across much of the European continent.
The record was set in Bala in Wales where the temperature peaked at a balmy 16.5 C, followed by a new temperature record for New Years Day (1st of January) when 16.3 C was recorded at St James Park in London. Several regional records were also set across the UK with all-time high New Years Eve temperatures with Keswick in England reaching 15.9 C, Kinlochewe in Scotland reaching 16.1 C, and Magilligan reaching 15.0 C in Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, a daily minimum temperature of 13.2 C recorded at Chivenor, in Devon is provisionally a new UK and England record for January. This beats the previous UK record of 13.1C set at Magilligan (Londonderry) in 2016 and the previous English record of 13.0C set at London St James Park in 2008.
The Met Office said that this extremely mild weather was being driven by a flow of warm, moist air pushing across the UK from the Canary Islands and further south in the Atlantic, and has resulted in the unusual situation of one single weather system breaking weather records on two consecutive days in two separate calendar years.
The ghost of climate change
While it can be tricky to immediately link one extreme weather event to climate change, scientists have consistently said that we can link the frequency and the severity of extreme weather events to climate change, hence why we successively continue to break weather records.
There was therefore some outrage that the Met Office didn’t note climate change when they announced these temperature records. Climate Scientist Peter Kalmus took to Twitter to voice his frustration around The Guardian’s coverage and that the Met Office was effectively celebrating these warm temperatures, which he calls a form of climate denial.
2021 was dominated by one extreme weather event after the other with a series of weather records being broken. 2022 has picked up where 2021 left off – as warming increases scientists will be keen to stress we must do much, much more to cut emissions.