4 of 5 record years in England after 1990
Difference in average surface temperature: comparison with 1961-90 average, Global and Central England, Degrees C
Both local (central England) and global average temperatures rose during the 20th century.
Average temperatures in Central England rose by about 1°C during the 20th century. The 1990s were exceptionally warm. Four of the five warmest years since records began in 1772 occurred after 1990. In 2003 the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK was reached when temperatures peaked at 38.5°C.
Average global surface temperature also increased - by 0.4 to 0.8°C since the late 19th century. All ten of the hottest years on record have occurred since 1990. The warmest year since global records began in 1860 was 1998, 2002 was the second warmest, and 2003 the third warmest.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in 2001 that there is new, stronger evidence that most of the warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. These are activities that involve the emission of ‘greenhouse gases’, such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
The IPCC 2001 report also predicted that, unless action is taken, global temperatures will rise by between 1.4 and 5.8°C by the end of the century.
Mean sea levels are predicted to rise by between 9 and 88 centimetres, causing flooding of low-lying areas. Other effects could include increases in rainfall and the frequency of extreme weather events.
New climate change scenarios (based on variations on future levels of emissions) for the UK suggest that the annual temperature across the UK could increase by 2 to 3.5°C by the 2080s while winters may become wetter and summers drier.
Source: Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research
Figures are smoothed using 10 year moving averages