UK annual weather summary: 2012


2012 was a year of dramatic contrast. The relatively warm and dry first three months were followed by an abrupt shift in weather patterns bringing an exceptionally wet period for most of the country from April lasting through much of the summer.

The UK mean temperature of 8.8°C was 0.1 degC below the 1981–2010 average. It is worth noting that only 2 of the last 16 years (2010 and 2012) have had annual temperatures below this average. March was the third warmest on record for the UK. The summer was a little warmer than that of 2011, but otherwise was the coolest since 1998, and autumn was the coolest since 1993.

The UK annual rainfall total was 1331mm (115% of average), the second highest in the series, narrowly beaten by 2000 (1337mm). England had its wettest year in the series. Many locations from the southwest to the northeast received over 135%, with northern Scotland and the west of Northern Ireland the drier exceptions. The year began with ongoing concerns over long-term drought heightened by a relatively dry January to March, but the situation was then transformed by the wettest April and June in the England and Wales series from 1766, while summer (June, July, August) was the wettest since 1912. Rainfall totals for autumn and December remained well above average, and a succession of rain events in late November and late December contributed to extensive disruption from flooding.

The UK sunshine duration for the year was near average (99%). March was a very sunny month, whereas April and the summer months were mostly dull.

The comparisons/maps are based upon provisional data. Temperature and rainfall series from 1910, and sunshine from 1929.

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