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UK saw hottest June on record in 2023

LONDON (AFP) – The United Kingdom (UK) this year has seen its hottest June on record, both in terms of mean temperature and the average maximum temperature, the British Meteorological Office (Met Office) said on Monday.

“The average mean temperature of 15.8 degrees Celsius (°C) for June 2023 in the UK is the highest in a series since 1884,” the Met Office said in a statement.

People sit on deckchairs on brown-coloured dry grass, in the sunshine in Hyde Park, London. PHOTO: AFP

The average temperature in June 2023 was 0.9°C higher than a previous joint record of 14.9°C registered in June of 1940 and 1976, according to provisional figures.

“It’s officially the hottest June on record for the UK,” said the Met Office’s Mark McCarthy.

On the hottest day in June, the temperature reached 32.2°C, McCarthy said. 

“What’s striking is the persistent warmth for much of the month, with temperatures widely into the mid 20s °C for many and even into the low 30s at times,” he added.

The four countries that make up the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – also reported “their respective warmest June on record”, the Met Office said.

Water use restrictions have been imposed in parts of southeastern England amid record demand for drinking water.

Scotland meanwhile has put regions on water scarcity alert as a result of concerns about the water level in its rivers and lochs.

Last year England had its joint hottest summer on record, tied with 2018, and the fourth hottest for the whole of the UK, leading to school closures and train cancellations. 

Temperatures exceeded 40°C for the first time.

“Alongside natural variability, the background warming of the Earth’s atmosphere due to human induced climate change has driven up the possibility of reaching record high temperatures,” Paul Davies of the Met Office said.

Mel Evans, head of climate at environmental campaign group Greenpeace UK, said temperature records were “falling like domino tiles”, blaming fossil fuels for global warming.

Evans criticised UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for being “asleep at the wheel” and failing to take action on climate change.

“If the heatwaves, droughts and wildfires raging around the world aren’t enough to shake Sunak out of his complacency, people will be wondering what on earth will.”

Sunak’s own advisory body on climate change last week criticised the government for the slow pace of its transition to clean energy, warning time was running out to meet its goals.

He also lost his international environment minister, Zac Goldsmith, who accused Sunak of “apathy” on environmental policy.

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