This report provides a summary of the UK weather and climate through the calendar year 2016 and is the third annual ‘State of the UK climate’ produced by the Met Office. It provides an accessible, authoritative and up-to-date assessment of UK climate trends, variations and extremes based on the latest available climate quality observational datasets.
2016 has been 0.5 °C warmer than average and the last decade 0.3 °C warmer (1981-2010) over the UK as a whole and for many it was also sunny with sunshine levels 4% above the 30 year average (1981-2010) for the UK overall.
Mark McCarthy, Head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “Although 2016 may not be regarded as remarkable for temperature, it does feature within a notable decade for temperature records. The trend towards warmer temperatures is clear, but of course natural variation in our climate will always mean that increases are not always even year on year.”
Winter 2016 (December 2015 to February 2016) was the mildest winter on record for England and Wales in records dating back to 1910, with the winter mean temperature more than 2 °C above the long-term average across the southern half of the UK. Over the last decade there have been seven per cent fewer air frosts and nine per cent fewer ground frosts, compared with the long-term average (1981-2010).
Although we saw some snow during 2016 it was not a particularly snowy year for the UK overall and it was the first year on record from 1959 where there was no observed snow depths of 20 cm or more.
As far as UK precipitation is concerned the report shows that 2016 as a whole had 95% of expected rainfall. Winter 2016 was the second-wettest winter on record for the UK in records dating back to 1910, with winter 2014 wettest. In contrast, the second half of the year was notably dry, particularly in the south.
Figures show that in the past few decades there has been an increase in annual average rainfall over the UK, particularly over Scotland with the last decade 11% wetter than 1961-1990 average and 4% wetter than 1981-2010 average.