The UK has two long temperature series. The Central England Temperature series is the world’s longest series; the monthly mean begins in 1659, in the depths of the Little Ice Age. The series represents a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Bristol, Lancashire and London. The Met Office predicted 2007 would be a record, beating the previous annual mean record of 10.82C set in 2006. In fact, the mean for 2007 was 10.48C, the same as 2004 and 1959, but lower than 1949, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2003. The Met Office are being more cautious with their 2008 prediction, saying it will most likely be in the top 10 of recorded temperatures.
Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland is home to a temperature series begining in 1795. In contrast to the CET, 2007 was a record year:
Meteorological measurements taken at the Armagh Observatory show that, despite a relatively poor summer, 2007 continued the warming trend seen in recent years. With an average temperature of 10.6 degrees Celsius, 2007 ranks as the hottest year on record, beating the previous record, 2006, by 0.15 degrees. Six of the warmest years at Armagh in the last 212 years have occurred in the last decade.
Last year’s average temperature was 10.6 degrees Celsius. This is to be compared with the 30-year average (1961-1990) of 9.24 degrees, itself nearly 0.2 degrees warmer than the average of 9.05 degrees since daily temperature measurements began at Armagh in 1795. Over approximately the last thirty years, the mean annual temperature at Armagh has increased at an average rate of 0.06 degrees per year, mirroring the warming trend seen from around 1920 to 1950.
A number of other temperature records emerge from the 2007 observations. The third coolest June day on record occurred on 15th June 2007. But it was the warmest April on record (mean monthly temperature 11.2 degrees) and a warmer spring than average. November 2007 was the fourth mildest on record, with a mean monthly temperature of 8.8 degrees.
There is also an interesting published paper from Armagh entitled ‘TRENDS AND CYCLES IN LONG IRISH METEOROLOGICAL SERIES’
Armagh Observatory scientific publications and reprints are here.
I may revisit both temperature series as 2008 progresses, and at the end of 2008.