Cambridge claims highest temperature ever recorded in the UK, subject to checks

A temperature of 38.7C has been recorded in Cambridge, which if validated would be a new record for the UK, the Met Office has said.

The figure was recorded at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens on Thursday, and will require “quality control and analysis” over the next few days, the forecasters said.

If validated it will become the highest temperature officially recorded in the UK, outstripping the 38.5C seen in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003.

Official figures, which recorded 38.1C in Cambridge, already put Thursday as the hottest July day on record, beating the previous high for the month of 36.7C set at Heathrow in July 2015.

It was also the second hottest UK day on record, beating the 37.1C recorded in August 1990, as a plume of hot air was funnelled from the south and leaving much of the country sweltering.

Dr Mark McCarthy from the National Climate Centre (NCIC) at the Met Office said: “As the official source of meteorological statistics for the UK, we take the quality of our recordings very seriously.

“We are talking about a potential new record for the highest temperature recorded in the UK and we therefore need to thoroughly investigate the observation with our partners from Cambridge University Botanic Garden through statistical analysis and by visiting, to check the site and equipment and ensure there are no potential problems.”

The Met Office says weather records are only used from weather observation sites with calibrated, standard instruments and carefully monitored exposure.

The organisation has individual station observations in a digital database going back to 1853, but there are also historical paper records stretching back even further.

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