Provisional full year figures have confirmed that 2014 was the UK’s warmest year, according to the Met Office. Despite this, awareness of the effects of climate change on the UK remains low amongst the public, leading to one expert calling the government’s communications on the issue a “colossal failure”.
The UK’s mean temperature for 2014 was 9.9C, or 1.1C above the long-term average, beating the previous record of 9.7C set in 2006. Eight of the UK’s top ten warmest years have now happened since 2002, suggesting that climate change is already having a considerable impact.
Whilst no single month saw a record temperature, 2014 was consistently warm.
Bob Ward, policy and commutations director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, stated that the latest figures are “part of pattern”, with the UK’s eight hottest years all having occurred from 2000 onwards.
“This is clear evidence of the impact of man-made climate change on the UK. However, the latest assessment by the independence Committee on Climate Change shows that the UK public is largely unaware of how climate change is affecting their exposure and vulnerability to extreme weather events,” Ward added.
“The lack of awareness of the UK public of how climate change is already affecting them represents a colossal failure by the government and its agencies, including the Environment Agency and the Met Office, to communicate with the public about this issue.”
The World Meteorological Organisation has previously revealed that 2001-2010 was the warmest decade on record. Additionally, 13 of the 14 warmest years in recorded history have occurred in the 21st century.
Photo: Gerwin Sturm via Flickr