The UK’s weather in 2022

A publication by “The Global Warming Policy Foundation”, author: Paul Homewood.

Executive summary
According to the Met Office, the UK climate ‘is continuing to change’, whilst weather is becoming more extreme.
But what does the actual evidence tell us? Using official data up to 2022, from the
Met Office and other sources, this paper examines UK climate trends, and assesses the truth of these claims. The results are as follows:

  • Although 2022 was the warmest on record in the UK, there has been no increase in long
    term averages since the early 2000s.
  • The annual temperature in 2022 was well within the bounds of natural variability, and was
    largely due to long spells of sunny weather in spring and summer.
  • The summer of 2022 was only the fourth hottest, according to the Central England Temperature Record, and not as hot as 1976, 1826 and 2018.
  • Annual rainfall last year was only slightly below average.
  • The number of days with extreme temperatures is not increasing, as fewer cold days are
    offsetting more hot ones.
  • Long-term averages in rainfall in England and Wales, which have been rising since the
    1970s, are similar to the 1870s and 1920s.
  • While winters have become slightly wetter, there is little change in the other seasons. In particular, summers are not getting drier, as projections from climate simulations have suggested.
  • Rainfall is not becoming more extreme, whether on an annual, monthly or daily basis.
  • Sea levels have been rising at approximately 1.7mm per year around the UK, after taking
    account of vertical land movement. There has been no acceleration in the rate of rise on multidecadal scales.
  • Wind storms have been declining in frequency and intensity since the 1990s.

In short, although it is slightly warmer than it used to be, the UK climate has changed very little. Long-term trends are dwarfed by the natural variability of weather. Nor is there any evidence that weather has become more extreme, or will become so in future.