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December 2015 breaks records

Jan 5, 2016 11:08 AM

The latest provisional statistics from the Met Office confirm December has broken records both for rainfall and temperature

The month was not only the wettest December on record, but also the wettest calendar month overall since records* began in 1910, while 2015 is the sixth wettest year on record (dating back to 1910).

The UK mean temperature for 2015 is 9.2 °C, notably warm but not exceptional. The warmest year on record was set in 2014 at 9.9 °C.  The UK mean temperature for December is record breaking at 7.9 °C, which is 4.1 °C above the long-term average. The previous record was 6.9 °C in 1934.

Mean Temp December 2015December 2015 rainfall anomaly

The temperatures for December 2015 were closer to those normally experienced during April or May.  Along with the remarkable warmth, there has been a virtual complete lack of air frost across much of England, with the UK as a whole seeing less than three days of air frost on average for December which is eight days below the long term average. Although some places particularly in Scotland and over uplands have had some frosts.

Provisional December 2015 statistics

Provisional* December 2015

Mean Temperature (deg C)

Sunshine (hours)

Precipitation (mm)

Actual

Anomaly (81-10)

Actual

Anomaly (81-10) %

Actual

Anomaly (81-10) %

UK

7.9

4.1

29.8

73

230.0

191

England

9.4

5.0

35.2

74

137.0

157

Wales

9.1

4.6

26.6

63

359.1

217

Scotland

5.4

2.7

21.5

71

351.4

215

N Ireland

6.9

2.5

30.1

81

220.6

193

There has been a marked contrast in rainfall across the UK.  It has been the wettest December on record for Scotland (351 mm), and for Wales (359 mm) and the 2nd wettest for Northern Ireland with 221 mm, just behind 1919 which recorded 224 mm.

Provisional* Annual 2015

Mean Temperature (deg C)

Sunshine (hours)

Precipitation (mm)

Actual

Anomaly (81-10)

Actual

Anomaly (81-10) %

Actual

Anomaly (81-10) %

UK

9.2

0.4

1479

108

1289.2

112

England

10.2

0.5

1610.8

108

883

103

Wales

9.5

0.4

1513.6

108

1627

111

Scotland

7.6

0.2

1275.5

107

1869.2

119

N Ireland

8.8

-0.1

1333.7

107

1307.6

115

North west England has also seen record breaking December rainfall, while for central and southern England it has been average.

The overall UK figure is influenced largely by the fact that Scotland, Wales and north west England have had an unusually wet year - 2015 end up being the second-wettest year since 1910 for Scotland, with only 2011 having been wetter.

*Data from the Met Office's UK digitised records dating back to 1910.

A full summary of December and the year will be available shortly on our UK climate.