2014: A year in weather

2014 has been another year of eventful weather across the UK. Here we take a look at some of the year’s more notable aspects.


The obvious headline from 2014 is that it will be the warmest year in our UK record dating back to 1910, knocking 2006 from its top spot.

Using figures up to 28 December then assuming average conditions for the last three days of the year, the expected mean temperature for the UK is 9.9 °C. This beats the previous record of 9.7 °C set in 2006 and means all the UK’s top eight warmest years have happened since 2002.

Despite the overall warmth, there were no record-breaking months – it’s just a case that 11 out of 12 months (August being the exception) were warmer than average. Although individual months were unremarkable, it was the persistence of the warmth that was unusual and together they add up to something record-breaking.

It’s also worth noting it’s set to be the warmest year on record in the Met Office’s Central England Temperature (CET) series, which dates all the way back to 1659. The mean temperature estimate for the year is 11.0 °C, which would just beat the record of 10.9 °C set in 2006.

Human influence on the climate is likely to have substantially increased the chance of breaking the UK and CET temperature records. Estimates from the Met Office suggest that it has become about ten times more likely for the UK record to be broken as a result of human influence on the climate.


It has also been a notably wet year, with the rainfall up to 28 December totalling 1290.0 mm. This ranks 2014 as the UK’s 5th wettest year in the records back to 1910 and it is only 5mm away from 4th placed 2008, so this year could step a notch higher when the final two days of the year are included.

The first two months of the year really set us on the path to this high rainfall total, as both January and February were the third wettest in the record. The winter of 2013/2014 was especially wet across south-east England and it was the wettest winter for the UK in a series from 1910, and in the England and Wales precipitation series from 1766.

May, August, October and November were also all wetter than average. August was especially wet in northern Scotland – here it was the wettest August in a series from 1910. The other months were mostly drier than average, with September being notably dry – in fact it was the driest month on record for the UK in a series from 1910 with just 22.1 mm of rain.

Weather through the months

The year started with two spells of very wet and stormy weather from mid-December to early January, and late January to mid-February, as one deep low pressure system followed another. These brought extremely strong winds and heavy rain to all parts of the country, with widespread disruption across the UK.

A number of factors contributed to the unusually stormy weather, particularly the influence of a powerful Atlantic Jet Stream. You can see more about these in a report written by the Met Office. You can also explore the evolution of this spell of weather in our climate events pages.

The start of spring saw the weather calm down – with March bringing some much-needed drier and more settled weather. The spring (March – April – May) was warmer than average, while rainfall for spring ended up very close to average, which helped the UK recover from its wettest winter on record.

June and July saw a good deal of dry and fine weather, with above average temperatures and sunshine hours combining with below average rainfall. Although there were no major heatwaves, these months made for one of the better periods of summer weather that we’ve seen in recent years; summer 2013 also brought plenty of fine, settled weather in contrast to summers 2007 to 2012.

August was more unsettled, however, with above average rainfall and it was the only month of the year with below average temperatures. On 10th August the remants of ex-hurricane Bertha brought heavy rain and some flooding to parts of north-east Scotland.

September then immediately turned the tables, being exceptionally dry with above average temperatures. However, October and November brought some more typically autumnal weather and the autumn (Sep-Oct-Nov) ended up being fairly average overall, although again it was notably mild and with a marked absence of frosts.

December has seen the coldest temperatures of the year so far for all parts of the UK, but the lowest values for the year remain unusually high compared to previous years. The month so far (using figures up to the 28th of the month) has also been milder than average overall, despite the late cold snap. Rainfall looks set to be around average, while sunshine amounts are well above the norm.

Some 2014 extremes:

Max temp – 32.3 °C at Gravesend, Kent on 18 July. This is fairly typical: during most years we would expect the temperature to reach the low 30s in a few locations.

Min temp – -9.0 °C at Cromdale, in Moray, Scotland on 27 December. By contrast, this is unusually mild. During most winters we would expect the temperature to fall below -10 °C, if not -15 °C, most likely in Highland Scotland.

Max wind gust – 109mph at the Needles Old Battery on the Isle of Wight on 14 February

Wettest day – 146.8 of rain at Ennerdale, Black Sail, Cumbria on 6 March 2014. The high fells of the English Lake District are climatologically one of the wettest parts of the UK.

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16 Responses to 2014: A year in weather

  1. in summary: “Cloudy with a chance of meat balls”?

    Here’s my prediction for the year ahead: There will be rain, sun, frost and snow. The winds will blow, but there will be occasional lulls. We will have all kinds of rain most of which will be wet – except that which is icy. There is a very high chance we will see record** high temperatures during one of the days and record** low temperatures during one of the nights.

    **By record I mean any combination of days, months, weeks, days of months, months of year, seasons, holidays, at any place or combination of places or regions, areas, nebulous areas like the M9 corridor, county council areas, towns, villages, MP constituency, MEP constituencies, including but not exclusively areas of man-made environmental conditions, for any duration based on whether or not the station has/hasn’t been moved, updated, corrected, calibrated or otherwise deemed to have been a significant change allowing me to win this prediction by hook or crook.

  2. jbenton2013 says:

    “Estimates from the Met Office suggest that it has become about ten times more likely for the record to be broken as a result of human influence on the climate.”

    More claims from the Met Office with no data to support their AGW agenda. I suppose the Met Office think if they repeat this type of claim often enough (like Peter Stott’s false claim in January that the Somerset flooding was caused by climate change – still waiting for data on that claim Peter) then it will enter folklore as fact, without the need to provide any supporting empirical data.

    What would the Met Office suggest is the reason for the record low temperature experienced by USA in 2014? That CO2 molecule must be a clever little thing that can warm England while at the same time cooling the USA. Certainly, both satellite global temperature data sets, which provide best overall coverage of the earth’s surface, show 2014 to be a fairly unremarkable year, and nowhere near the record of 1998.

    • Now Benton – who has so far ignored my reply at the blog dated 17 Dec – is not merely demanding unspecified ‘data’ to back up a statement apparently made by Peter Stott re the wetness of January 2014 but is proclaiming (presumably because he has not received the unspecified ‘data’ that he has been demanding) thar Mr Stott made a ‘false’ statement. Perhaps we should be demanding some ‘data’ from Benton t o back up his claim eg data that the Somerset Levels floods were instead by a continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age? Though I suspect that such data will not be forthcoming.
      I also take his implied claims re the worldwide temperature in 2014 and compared with 1998 with a large pinch of salt. Since – as far as I know – the relevant official statistics have not yet been published.

      • jbenton2013 says:

        It may be better to study the data before you comment on something you clearly know little about Haworth-Roberts.

        The relevant dataset which proves there is no increasing trend in rainfall is the England & Wales Precipitation Series 1931-2014 produced by none other than the Met Office. Dr David Whitehouse carried out a recent analysis which clearly demonstrates the lack of trend over that period. I thought you would have known that Haworth-Roberts.

        PS Still waiting for Peter Stott’s data to back his false claims.

      • Does Stott know about your crusade?

      • jbenton2013 says:

        I suggest you update yourself with the UAH and RSS satellite temperature series Haworth-Roberts before commenting on something you clearly have little if any knowledge of.

        If 2014 is warmer than 1998 I’ll agree not to comment on this site if you agree to the same if 1998 proves to be warmer than 2014.

      • jbenton2013 says:

        You lose Haworth-Roberts. RSS data confirms 2014 was only 6th warmest year globally and UAH puts it at only third warmest, both a long way behind 1998.

      • “You lose Haworth-Roberts. RSS data confirms 2014 was only 6th warmest year globally and UAH puts it at only third warmest, both a long way behind 1998.” Benton is yet another climate change sceptic. Trying to put words into my mouth. I NEVER made ANY comments about what he is talking about in his latest post. And which – incidentally – he has failed to back up with a link (as with his preceding post regarding rainfall records since 1931). No wonder the Met Office appear to be ignoring him. They probably have better things to do.

      • jbenton2013 says:

        I am now beginning to understand why your knowledge of the empirical data is so poor, when you are not familiar with RSS or UAH. Try Googling.

  3. cybersaintuk says:

    Please can we have MODERN temperatures. I’m presuming your degrees signs are referring to Centigrade. C : – D

  4. Why am I suddenly on pre-moderation, please?

  5. nuwurld says:

    Dear Met, you say,

    “Human influence on the climate is likely to have substantially increased the chance of breaking the UK and CET temperature records. Estimates from the Met Office suggest that it has become about ten times more likely for the UK record to be broken as a result of human influence on the climate.”

    But Met, ‘Human influence’ is ‘Global’ Warming through Anthropological induction of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Not local.

    Is there a recent and statistically significant rise in ‘Global Temperature’ to support this hypothesis?

  6. andyextance says:

    Reblogged this on Simple Climate and commented:
    According to the Met Office, 2014 was UK’s warmest since 1910, beating 2006 by 0.2°C. Central England Temperature also set to be the warmest in a series that dates back to 1659. It was also the fifth wettest year for the UK since 1910.

  7. Norman Page says:

    Actually if you forget the whole useless IPCC bottom up model approach and look at the natural cycles climate forecasting is reasonably straightforward and obvious.
    .The discussion needs to move on from discussing a pause to discussing the cooling trend because in fact we have had 11 years of cooling see


    see my post


    for details and cooling forecasts. This shows that the late 20th century rise is simply the rise to the peak of the millennial cycle which peaked in the RSS series at 2003.6 give or take a couple of weeks no doubt.
    This corresponds to the peak in the solar activity driver seen at about 1991 in Fig 14 of the linked post. There is about a 12 year lag between the driver peak and the RSS peak. The lag will vary according to the climate metric used and the region under consideration.
    For convenience , realists and skeptics might wish to celebrate the anniversary of peak heat which I calculate as 4th July 2003 at about 4pm.

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