A Met Office review of the UK’s record-breaking summer in 2022

With the summer of 2022 entering the climate record books as the first time that the UK has hit an air temperature above 40C, it has without question been amongst the UK’s hottest and driest summers overall. 

Yet despite some extreme weather, the summer was also not short of newspaper columns drawing on memories of past heatwaves, most notably that of 1976.

So, as summer gives way to autumn, this review will look at some of the statistics from this exceptional summer and put it into the context of previous notable hot summers for the UK.

According to the Met Office national climate series from 1884 to present, the summer of 2022 was the fourth hottest summer for daily average temperature for the UK overall. It was marginally warmer than 1976 and behind only the summers of 2018, 2006 and 2003.

This year’s summer heat also saw dozens of locations across the country set new daily maximum temperature records – with 46 meeting or exceeding the previous UK record and seven hitting or surpassing 40C.

In terms of rainfall, 1995 is the driest summer on record for the UK, closely followed by 1976. These two summers were appreciably drier than the cluster of hot-dry summers of 2022, 2018, 2006 and 2003.

A hot, dry summer

The maps below show average conditions across the UK for the summer in terms of temperature (left), rainfall (middle) and sunshine (right). All data is shown as anomalies relative to the 1991-2020 average. The darker the shading, the more unusual the weather.

Read the full story including maps, on CarbonBrief.