2020 has been hailed as a “truly remarkable” weather year after featuring the sunniest spring and the wettest February on record.
The Met Office said the UK’s “year of extremes” was on course to be the third or fourth warmest year on record, and to be in the top 10 for both rainfall and sunshine.
As well as a summer heatwave, 2020 also boasted an October day which smashed rainfall records.
Ahead of full-year figures due to be released on January 4, the Met Office said the data made it clear “that the general trend of warming as a consequence of climate change is being seen, not just at a global level, but in our own national temperature records”.
In its round-up of the year, the Met Office said: “The most noteworthy winter month was February, due to a rapid succession of named storms, rainfall totals were well above normal virtually everywhere, with many places getting more than three times their expected average.
“It was the wettest February on record (records back to 1862) with the UK recording 237% of its average rainfall. It was also the fifth wettest of any calendar month on record.”
A truly remarkable year; the UK weather review 2020The sunniest spring on record, followed on from the wettest February ever recorded, later in the year enough rain fell in 24 hours to fill Loch Ness. We go through a truly remarkable year of weather 👉 https://t.co/SnzMuRCpETpic.twitter.com/PxfqtWJRXs
— Met Office (@metoffice) December 30, 2020
Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “We have seen a number of exceptionally wet winters in the last decade, and due to climate change, we expect UK winters to become wetter.
“Of the top 10 wettest winters, four have occurred since 2007 and seven since 1990 while there has been a 17% increase in the total rainfall from extremely wet days.
“In just over a decade we have now seen the UK’s wettest February (2020), April (2012), June (2012), November (2009) and December (2015), remarkably new national records in five out of 12 months.”
All four UK countries recorded their sunniest spring, as judged by Met Office records dating back to 1919, with only three summers (1976, 1989 and 1995) recording more hours of sun.
Dr McCarthy added: “In climate statistics, 2019 will be remembered for the UK’s hottest day, whereas 2020 will be associated with rainfall records.
“Saturday October 3, the day which followed Storm Alex, provisionally holds the record for the UK’s wettest day on record, in data stretching back to 1891.
“2020 also has the third wettest day with the rainfall associated with Storm Dennis in February.”
Met Office presenter Alex Deakin said: “2020 will be remembered for many, many things and the weather should be one of them.
“There are still a couple of days to go so we don’t know exactly where 2020 will sit.
“But it is going to be another very warm year, very likely to be in the top five warmest years on record.
“It’s also very likely to be in the top 10 for sunniest and wettest years, a truly remarkable year.”