State of the UK Climate

The 2020 report is published as a special issue of the International Journal of Climatology, which is the Royal Meteorological Society journal of climate science.

Latest report 

Highlights of the 2020 report

The UK's climate is changing

The 21st century has so far been warmer than the past 3 centuries1

Temperature, rainfall and sunshine for 2020 were all in the top-ten highest on record – the first time this has happened in a single year.

2020 climate statistics

  • One of the least snowy years on record2
  • The number and severity of snow events has generally declined since the 1960s
  • UK sea-level has risen by 16.5cm since the start of the 20th century
  • The rate of sea level rise has recently increased and is now at 3mm per year3
  • 9 of the 10 warmest years for UK near-coast sea-surface temperature have occurred since 20024
  • 8th sunniest year5
  • Sunniest spring5
  • Sunniest calendar month (May 2020)5
  • 6.2 days longer lead season6
  • 8th highest number of growing degree days7
  • 5th wettest year8
  • Wettest February (February 2020)8,9
  • Six of the top 10 wettest years have occured since 19988
  • 3rd warmest year10
  • All of the top 10 warmest years have occured since 200210,1

UK decadal averages

The decade 2011-2020 was:

  • 0.5 °C above 1981-2010 average
  • 1.1 °C above 1961-1990 average

UK long-term averages

The period 1991-2020 was:

  • 0.3 °C above 1981-2010 average
  • 0.9 °C above 1961-1990 average

Warming has occurred across all months and all four UK nations

Previous reports (PDF format)


1Based on the Central England Temperature (CET) series from 1659

2Alongside 2019, 2016 and 2014 based on observations from 1959

3Based on the period 1993-2019

4In a UK near-coast SST series from 1870

5In a sunshine series for the UK from 1919

6Compared with a 1999-2019 baseline

7In a GDD series from 1960

8In a UK rainfall series from 1862

9In a rainfall series for England and Wales from 1766

10In a UK temperature series from 1884