Met Office says 2022 was Scotland's warmest ever year

Study also reveals UK's average annual temperature last year was more than 10C for the first time.

Met Office: 2022 was Scotland and UK’s warmest year on record Wirestock via iStock

Scotland recorded its hottest year on record in 2022, the Met Office said on Thursday.

The country saw an annual mean temperature of 8.50C, beating the previous record of 8.43C set in 2014.

The Met Office also said 2022 was the hottest year on record for the whole of the UK, with an average temperature of over 10C recorded for the first time.

An attribution study conducted by Met Office scientists has shown human-induced climate change made the UK’s record-breaking annual temperature around 160 times more likely.

It said what would have been around a one in 500-year annual temperature in a natural climate, where human climate influences are removed, is now likely every three to four years in the current climate.

Met Office climate attribution scientist Dr Nikos Christidis said: “To assess the impact of human induced climate change on the record-breaking year of 2022, we used climate models to compare the likelihood of a UK mean temperature of 10C in both the current climate and with historical human climate influences removed.

“The results showed that recording 10C in a natural climate would occur around once every 500 years, whereas in our current climate it could be as frequently as once every three to four years.

“We also used climate models to project how often this sort of temperature could be recorded in the future. It was possible to calculate that by the end of the century, under a medium emissions scenario (SSP2-4.5), a UK average temperature of 10C could occur almost every year.”

Records in all UK nations

Every nation in the UK recorded a record breaking annual mean temperature in 2022.

After a notably warm start to the year in 2022, with new year’s day the warmest on record, the mild theme was replicated through much of the year with many more warmer than average days than cooler than average days.

The annual mean temperature reached record breaking levels during the exceptional heatwave in July and despite a notable cold spell in December remained at record levels for the year overall.

Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “Although an arbitrary number, the UK surpassing an annual average temperature of 10°C  is a notable moment in our climatological history.

“This moment comes as no surprise, since 1884 all the ten years recording the highest annual temperature have occurred from 2003. It is clear from the observational record that human induced global warming is already impacting the UK’s climate.”

Scotland set a new record temperature of 34.8C during a summer heatwave last July.

The mercury soared above the previous peak of 32.9C at Charterhall in the Scottish Borders, according to official data.

But it was a year of weather extremes in Scotland, with heavy rainfall and freezing temperatures also a feature of the country’s climate in 2021.

STV meteorologist Sean Batty wrote in November that “bigger, violent and deadly storms” threaten Scotland’s coastal communities.

He wrote: “Since COP26 came to Glasgow, the world has seen more massive weather events, from devastating floods in Pakistan which affected more than 30 million people, nearly half the UK’s population. China experienced its worst heatwave on record, there was record heat in Japan, and Australia hit 50C along with record rainfall. 

“Of course, we’ve also had our own extremes, with Scotland experiencing its hottest weather on record when the mercury hit the mid-30s in July and the UK reaching the 40C mark for the first time.  

“Given how quickly things have been warming in recent years, I predicted last year that Scotland would more than likely have a new record within several years, but in fact it only took eight months.”

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