September continues run of warm months

The first nine months of this year have provisionally been the warmest on record for the UK in a series which goes back to 1884.

September continued this year’s run of every month so far being warmer than average according to mean temperature, with 13.4°C sitting at 0.5°C higher than the long-term average for the month.  

Combined, the first nine months of 2022 have been warmer than the same period in any other year in a series which goes back to 1884. The previous record for the January-September period was 2014, which went on to be the UK’s warmest year on record.

Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre said: “The start of September continued the summer’s theme of above average temperatures with high pressure dominating. As the month has progressed, an Atlantic influence has brought more unsettled weather, with some northerly winds in recent days bringing temperatures further down. 

“Although 2022 is on track to be one of the warmest years on record if the warmer than average conditions persist, we can’t rule out a period of below average temperatures during the coming months which would bring it below 2014’s mean temperature for the calendar year.” 

Map of the UK that shows September 2022's mean temperature versus the long term average. The map shows near-average temperatures in the south and above average for much of the north.
September 2022 mean temperature versus the long-term average for the month.

Near-average rain this month

Late rain in September boosted totals to above average for some regions across the UK, although not enough to address the dry year so far.  

An average of 101.3mm of rain fell across the UK in September, which is 11% more than average. It was a similar story across the UK, with Scotland seeing 9% more rain than average, England 10% and Wales 2%. However, Northern Ireland had 58% more rain than its average for the month, with a total of 138.7mm falling.  

Despite near-average rain for most in September, the first nine months of the year have still been significantly dry, especially in areas to the south and east. Provisionally, rainfall from January-September 2022 in the UK has been 639mm. This makes the first nine months of the year the driest since 2003 (595mm).  

For England, January-September 2022 has seen 424mm of rain, which is the ninth driest for the period and the driest since 1959 (400mm). East Anglia has been particularly dry, with 267mm of rain so far this year. This is the third driest on record, with only 1921 (241mm) and 1929 (251mm) drier for the same period.  

Mark McCarthy added: “September’s near-average rainfall has done little to offset the rainfall deficit built up over the year so far for some areas of the UK, especially in the south and east. 1976, which has long been used as the yardstick for hot and dry weather, had an exceptionally wet September, meaning it no longer threatens the dry records at this point in the year.  

“The influence of Atlantic weather systems from the west has brought with it some rain, with the late month rainfall managing to tip many areas of the UK to totals slightly above average for the month of September.” 

Map of the UK showing rainfall amounts for September 2022 versus the long-term average. The map shows wetter than average conditions in the far south of England and the east of Scotland.
September 2022 rainfall amounts versus the long-term average for the month.

Dull for most

Sunshine hours were in relatively short supply for some, although not enough to trouble any records. The UK was 8% duller than average with 117.3 hours of sunshine. Wales was particularly dull, with 25% fewer sunshine hours than average at 97.5 hours. Northern Ireland, despite seeing more than its fair share of rain, had 4% more sunshine than average with 117.8 hours.

Map showing the average number of sunshine hours for the UK versus the long-term average. The map shows a predominantly duller than average month, especially in Wales.
September 2022 sunshine hours versus the long-term average for the month.
Provisional September 2022Mean temp (°C) Sunshine (hours) Rainfall (mm) 
 Actual Diff from avg (°C)Actual% of avgActual% of avg
UK 13.4 0.5 117.392  101.3 111
England 14.3 0.4 126.389 75.2 110
Wales 13.5 0.4 97.575 113.6 102
Scotland 11.9 0.6 107.1100 134.7 109
N Ireland 13.2 0.6 117.8104 138.7158
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