Met Office reveals 2012 was second wettest year on record
Provisional statistics from the Met Office show 2012 was the second wettest year in the UK since records began in 1910.
The persistent wet weather saw a total 2012 rainfall for the UK of 1330.7 mm – just 6.6 mm short of the record set in 2000.
Last year was also the third wettest for Wales.
Top five wettest years in the UK
2000 – 1337.3mm
2012 – 1330.7mm
1954 – 1309.1 mm
2008 – 1295.0mm
2002 – 1283.7mm
The exceptionally wet 2012 was characterised by a dry start which quickly gave way to very wet weather, with April and June both being the wettest on record.
Unsettled weather continued through to the end of the year, with December being the eighth wettest on record for the UK.
The Met Office has said preliminary evidence suggests we are getting slightly more rain in total and it may be falling in more intense bursts.
Preliminary research from the Met Office also suggests the UK may have seen a change in the nature of the rain it gets, with ‘extreme’ daily rainfall becoming more frequent.
Professor Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, said: “The trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we are seeing around the world, in countries such as India and China, and now potentially here in the UK. Much more research is needed to understand more about the causes and potential implications.
“It’s essential we look at how this may impact our rainfall patterns going forward over the next decade and beyond, so we can advise on the frequency of extreme weather in the future and the potential for more surface and river flooding. This will help inform decision-making about the need for future resilience both here in the UK and globally.”
Changes in sea surface temperatures due to natural cycles and reducing amounts of Arctic sea-ice could also be influencing the increase in rainfall, but the Met Office has said more research needs to be done before anyone can establish how big a role they play.
Increasing global temperatures may be another factor.