Faster climate change in 2021

The Met Office’s latest annual report shows the continuation of warmer than average years and increasing rate of sea level rise around the UK.

Since the 1900s sea level has risen around the UK by around 165mm, whilst the rate of increase of 1.5mm each year in the early part of last century, over the past 30 years the rates of increase have risen to 3.0-5.2mm each year depending on location around the UK. As the sea level rises around the UK it exposes more areas of coastal land to larger and more frequent storm surges and wind driven wave impacts.

The State of the UK Climate 2021 report also reveals that cooler conditions now are warm relative to past climates, and this was true of 2021 before the recent even higher temperatures. While the year 2021 would be considered near normal compared to the last three decades, before 1990 a year like this would be the second warmest in our national series that began in 1884.

Winter and spring were both near-normal compared to the climate of a few decades ago (1961-1990) but summer and autumn were much warmer (+1.5C, +1.8C). The UK continues to warm on a rate broadly consistent with, but slightly higher than, global temperature increases, with the most recent decade 1.0C warmer than the 1961-1990 climate period. 2021 was the UK’s 18th warmest year in a series dating back to 1884.

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