Online Briefing report 2.1 Temperature
Central England Temperature (CET), the average of three observing stations in Hertfordshire, Worcestershire and Lancashire, has been monitored instrumentally since 1772, and long term changes in it are representative of those across most of the UK. Figure 2 shows that, after a period of relative stability for most of the 20th century, CET has increased by about a degree Celsius since the 1970s. Studies have shown that this observed rate of warming cannot be explained by , but is consistent with the response to increasing greenhouse gases and aerosols simulated by the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model. It is likely, therefore, that global man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have played a significant role in the recent warming of the UK. However, CET has risen faster in the last few decades than the global mean temperature over land, and this may be partly due to the influence of higher North Atlantic , arising from natural variations in the North Atlantic circulation.
Temperatures in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have risen by about 0.7–0.8ºC since about 1980, and sea-surface temperatures around the UK coast have risen over the past three decades by about 0.7ºC. However, because the length of data in each case is relatively short, research to date has not attributed these changes to specific causes.