0 2011 is UK's second warmest year on record

This year was the second warmest on record for the UK, the Met Office says.

Provisional figures show that only 2006, with an average temperature of 9.73C (49.5F), was warmer than 2011's average temperature of 9.62C (49.3F).

This year saw high temperatures for lengthy periods; including the warmest April and spring on record, the second warmest autumn and the warmest October day.

Early figures suggest 2011 is ending with a "close to average" December.

The Met Office said its figures were a mean temperature taken over day and night.
'Unseasonably warm'

The mean temperature for the first 28 days of December was 4.7C (40.5F); a big swing from 2010, says the Met Office, when temperatures were 5C below average for the coldest December on record.

The warmth of 2011 certainly catches the attention, especially as it contrasts with the bitterly cold end to 2010, but equally notable are the huge variations in rainfall across the UK.

Scotland notched up quite an achievement with its wettest year on record. However, this fact stands out even more when you consider parts of England have been exceptionally dry.

East Anglia has had its second driest year on record and it has been the third driest in the Midlands.

The reason for the uneven distribution of rainfall can be found in some prolonged periods when the weather pattern across the north-west of Europe was blocked, that is to say stayed the same for several weeks.

High pressure kept much of England relatively dry with rain-bearing Atlantic weather systems deflected north, resulting in the exceptionally wet year in Scotland.

The BBC weather centre is predicting another "very mild" day for New Year's Eve with highs of 13C (55F). Forecasters say it will be mostly cloudy and windy, with perhaps a few brighter spells in the north and east of the UK and the odd outbreak of mainly light rain or drizzle.

John Prior, national climate manager at the Met Office, said: "While it may have felt mild for many so far this December, temperatures overall have been close to what we would expect.

"It may be that the stark change from last year, which was the coldest December on record for the UK, has led many to think it has been unseasonably warm."

All bar one of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1997 and all the UK's top seven warmest years happened in the past decade.

The warmest temperature recorded this year was 33.1C (91.5F) on Monday 27 June at Gravesend in Kent. The Met Office said it was the warmest temperature recorded in the UK for five years.

Apart from January, the other months that had below-average temperatures were June, July and August.

Gravesend was also the location for the warmest October temperature ever, when 29.9C (85.8F) was recorded on 1 October, beating the previous record of 29.4C (84.9F) in the Cambridgeshire town of March on the same day in 1985.

The coldest temperature was -13C (8.6F) at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands on 8 January, while the strongest gust of wind was 165mph (265.5kph), recorded at the highest point of the Cairngorms mountain range on 8 December.

See the rest of the article on the following link:- BBC

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