Hull warmer than Heathrow was 60 years ago

The UK’s average temperature, rainfall and sunshine have all increased over the past 60 years, according to new climate analysis by the Met Office, with Hull now warmer than Heathrow was in 1961.

Sun shining over the Humber Bridge, Hull Sun shining over the Humber Bridge, Hull. Image: Pixabay

Comparing data between the UK’s two previous 30-year ‘averaging’ points, the Met Office has revealed that the climate has been shifting at varying rates across the country, with some parts of north-eastern and eastern England seeing increases in sunshine by more than 13%. 

Between 1961-1990 and 1991-2020, the average temperature across the UK increased by 0.8°C, rainfall by 7.3%, and sunshine by 5.6% according to the new analysis. 

Temperatures have risen most in central and eastern England, where areas such as Bedfordshire and Leicestershire have seen increases of more than 1°C. 

Temperatures have also risen by 0.7°C in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “The result of human-induced climate change in the UK is that higher temperatures are felt further north than they used to be. If you look at the average temperature, for example, between 1991-2020 Hull has been warmer on average than Heathrow in London was during the previous climate averaging period, 1961-1990.”

Temperatures which were once limited to London and parts of the far south of England are now being experienced in places up to 250km further north, he said.

The Met Office analysis also shows that annual average rainfall has increased by more than 10% between the two 30-year periods across large parts of Scotland. Glasgow has seen an annual increase of 12 days per year where it records more than 1mm of rain, compared to Cambridgeshire which averages just one day per year. 

In terms of the number of days of air frost - when air temperature drops below zero - the UK has seen an average reduction of 11.1 days per year. This has been particularly pronounced in areas such as Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Shetland, Staffordshire, County Antrim and County Londonderry.

McCarthy said that much of what the Met Office analysis shows at a local scale fits the national and international picture.