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UK wetter and hotter than at any time in a century

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The UK is hotter and wetter than at any time in the last 100 years, the latest figures from the Met Office show.

Last year was the fifth warmest on record and nine of the 10 hottest years have been since 2002.

The figures were revealed in the Met Office’s annual state of the climate report.

It shows that, despite this summer’s shortage of rain in some areas of the UK, the amount of rainfall has gone up.

:: Latest weather forecast

Visitors to Hyde Park sit on deck chairs on the dry brown grass in London on July 23
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Extreme weather, like that this summer, is becoming more common say campaigners

Average annual rainfall was 20% higher in the years between 2008 and 2017 than those between 1961 and 1990.

The study also found that average sea levels have risen by 1.4mm a year since 1900 – equal to a rise of 16cm (6.3ins).

Dr Mark McCarthy, manager of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre, said: “Our climate is changing, globally and here in the UK.

“People may not recall 2017 as having been a particularly warm year, with a relatively wet summer and snow in December.

“Despite this, when looking at the longer term perspective, 2017 was still more than 1C above the 1961-1990 baseline and ranks as the fifth warmest year overall for the UK.”

Festival goers walk in the wind and rain at Camp Bestival on 29 July
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Festival goers were among those hit by rain when the dry period ended this week

More rainfall accords with what many climate change campaigners, including the US Natural Resources Defense Council, have predicted as accompanying higher temperatures caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Some of the extra rain is thought to be falling as part of more frequent severe weather, which can lead to disasters.

The figures come after the US government’s National Climate Assessment cited evidence that the decade from 2000 to 2009 worldwide was warmer than any other in the last 1,300 years.

Dr Stephen Cornelius, chief adviser for climate change at WWF, said: “Climate change is not just a problem for others – this report shows that it affects us here in the UK.

“We’re in the age of consequences – extreme weather such as we’ve experienced this summer threatens our health, our water supplies and our natural world.

The sun sets over flooded fields surrounding the River Tone that has burst its banks on the Somerset Levels in 2014
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Rain causing flooding like that in the UK in 2014 is becoming more frequent, activists say

“These extreme events will become normal if we don’t heed these warnings and act with urgency. The UK Government needs to work harder to cut our carbon emissions and build a cleaner, greener economy.”

A Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department spokesman said: “The UK is a world-leader in cutting emissions and driving investment in low carbon technology. Since 1990, carbon emissions are over 40% lower, while the UK’s GDP has increased by more than two-thirds.”

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