2012 - The Second Wettest Year Since Records Began
It's official – 2012 was the second wettest year ever since records began in 1910.
Met Office statistics released today show the exceptionally wet weather of 2012 was just a few millimetres short of the record set in 2000.
The year got off to a dry start with drought warnings issued but April and June were the wettest on record.
The persistent wet weather resulted in total 2012 rainfall for the UK of 1330.7 mm, which is just 6.6 mm short of the record set in 2000.
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This adds to a high frequency of wet years since 2000 in the UK – with four of the top five wettest years occurring since then.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: "We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing. However, preliminary evidence suggests we are getting slightly more rain in total and it may be falling in more intense bursts.
"Looking at annual rainfall for the UK, we can see the country as a whole getting wetter in recent decades."
Top five wettest years in the UK
1. 2000 – 1337.3mm
2. 2012 – 1330.7mm
3. 1954 – 1309.1 mm
4. 2008 – 1295.0mm
5. 2002 – 1283.7mm
Long-term averages of 30-year periods show an increase in annual rainfall of about 5% from 1961-1990 to 1981-2010.
Preliminary research from the Met Office also suggests we may have seen a change in the nature of the rain in the UK, with extreme daily rainfall becoming more frequent.
An analysis of 1 in 100 day rainfall events since 1960 indicates these extreme days of rainfall may have become more frequent over time.