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2023 was world's hottest year, and second warmest year ever for UK

2023 warmest

With some extreme rain, snow, and wind, and unseasonably warm weather in autumn months, 2023 has been eventful in many ways. According to the Met Office, 8 of the 12 months of 2023 were warmer than average, and the year itself was wetter than usual, with some areas of the UK seeing up to a quarter more rainfall than usual. Extreme flooding occurred across Great Britain, causing traffic issues and landslides, with saturated soil and burst river banks causing chaos from Scotland to the Isle of Wight.

Wales and Northern Ireland reported their warmest year on record, with 2023 surpassing 2022 by a noticeable margin. Northern Ireland received 21% more rainfall than an average year, with England recording its sixth wettest year since 1836. Areas of eastern Scotland had twice their normal rainfall, despite Scotland enjoying its ninth sunniest year since 1910. Areas such as Aberdeenshire and Angus swam under one of the wettest Decembers they’ve ever experienced.

Climate projections suggest this trend of hot summers and warm, wet winters will continue. Mike Kendon, Senior Scientist at the Met Office, said: “A warmer atmosphere has a greater capacity to hold moisture, so as our climate warms, we expect it to become wetter too and, while there is a large amount of annual variability, that trend is also apparent in the observations.”

Due to human industrial activity and the excessive burning of fossil fuels in the past 200 years, carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere have skyrocketed, reaching 150% of the value seen in 1750. Ice core data over millennia, retrieved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, show that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels did not surpass 300 parts per million (ppm) until 1911. As of November 2023, the atmosphere contains over 420ppm of carbon dioxide.

Overall, 2023 was a stark warning for scientists, policymakers, and people across the world who live in a state of climate vulnerability.

Read more about weather and climate over on the Met Office’s website.

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