Climate - Temperature
Climate - Temperature
Generally the UK has mild to cool winters and warm to hot summers with moderate variation in temperature throughout the year. In England the average annual temperature varies from 8.5 °C in the north to 12 °C in the south, but over the higher ground this can be several degrees lower. This small variation in temperature is to a large extent due to the moderating effect the Atlantic ocean has since water has a much greater heat capacity than air and tends to release it slowly throughout the year. This has a warming influence on coastal areas in winter and a cooling influence in summer.
The ocean is at its coldest in February or early March, thus around coastal areas February is often the coldest month, but inland there is little to choose between February and January as the coldest.
Temperatures tend to drop lowest in late winter nights inland, in the presence of high pressure, clear skies, light winds and when there is snow on the ground. On occasions, cold polar or continental air can be drawn in over the United Kingdom to bring very cold weather.
The floors of inland valleys away from warming influence of the sea can be particularly cold as cold air, being denser than warm air, tends to drain into them. A temperature of -26.1 °C was recorded under such conditions at Edgmond in Shropshire on 10 January 1982, the coldest temperature recorded in England and Wales. The following day the coldest maximum temperature in England, at -11.3 °C, was recorded at the same site.
The warmest winter temperatures tend to occur on the lee of high ground and by the coast and are produced when a moist south or south west wind warms up downwind after the crossing the mountains. Temperatures in these areas can rise as high as 18 °C in winter on rare occasions. This is a particularly amazing event in Northern Scotland, mainly Aberdeenshire, where these high temperatures can occur in midwinter with just a couple of hours of sunlight.
July tends to be the warmest month and the highest temperatures tend to occur away from the Atlantic in southern, eastern and central areas where summer temperatures can rise as high as 35 °C (95 °F). It soared to 38.5 °C (101 °F) in Kent in the summer of 2003, the highest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom.
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Page 1 - Introduction / Overview
Page 2 - Seasons
Page 3 - Regions
Page 4 - Sunshine & Clouds
Page 5 - The Atlantic Ocean
Page 6 - Winds
Page 7 - Rainfall
Page 8 - Temperature (Current page)
Page 9 - Severe weather
Page 10 - Climate history