Politics and Elections

The UK got its new national highest temperature record of 40.3 °C

By: Vibor Cipan Published on: July 17, 2022, and filed under Climate and weather
  • The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK was 40.3 °C
  • At least 34 other stations shattered the previous record of 38.7 °C from 2019.
  • Also, at least 6 stations recorded a temperature of 40.0 °C or more.
Synoptic situation ahead of expected UK's heatwave Synoptical situation over Europe. The source is ECMWF.

The July 2022 heatwave in Europe has already shattered several monthly records in some European countries. On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, the UK also got its new all-time heat record!

The new all-time heat record set in the UK

And so it happened, as it was forecasted. The UK got its new national record. According to the MetOffice, the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK was 40.3 °C registered in Coningsby on July 19, 2022. And not just that – at least 34 other observation sites in the UK had temperatures higher than the previous national record of 38.7 °C in Cambridge Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019.

Temperatures of 40 °C  and more

There were at least 6 stations where a temperature of 40 °C or higher was recorded.

  • 40.3 °C – Coningsby
  • 40.2 °C – St James’s Park
  • 40.2 °C – Heathrow
  • 40.1 °C – Gringley On The Hill
  • 40.1 °C – Kew Gardens
  • 40.0 °C – Northolt

All records are provisional pending the official MetOffice’s confirmation, but they are very likely.

Our earlier coverage

The UK’s MetOffice issued a Red Extreme heat warning for the first time in its history. Historically, the UK will likely experience temperatures of around 40 °C.

MetOffice’s Chief Meteorologist, Paul Gundersen, said:

Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely early next week, quite widely across the red warning area on Monday, and focussed a little more east and north on Tuesday. Currently, there is a 50% chance we could see temperatures top 40 °C and 80% we will see a new maximum temperature reached.”

Is this related to climate change?

Likely so. While extreme heat events have happened during human history as a part of normal, natural climate variations, the frequency, intensity, and duration of these events have been linked to the general warming of our planet.

MetOffice states that the chances of seeing 40 °C days in the UK could be as much as ten times more likely now than in a climate unaffected by human influence.

How the UK temperature record compares to other European countries

The highest temperature ever recorded (and confirmed) in Europe is 48.0 °C, recorded in Greece (Athens) on July 10, 1977. Last year on August 11, 2021, a potentially new European heat record was set in Italy. But, the WMO still hasn’t confirmed it.

Look at the map and list the highest temperatures recorded in European countries.

Stay informed

To all of you reading this in the UK, please stay informed and follow updates on the MetOffice website. While temperatures above 39 °C and even 40 °C are not unheard of in some parts of Europe, they are very dangerous for people and the living world in general in areas which don’t experience such temperatures often.

Take care of the elderly, sick, and animals. Stay safe!