Northern Ireland

2023 was north’s warmest on record

Met Office data shows man-made climate change is fuelling record-breaking temperatures

Sunbathers at Belfast City Hall at the beginning of June. Picture by Mal McCann
Sunbathers at Belfast City Hall at the beginning of June. Picture by Mal McCann Sunbathers at Belfast City Hall in June. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

Last year was the warmest for the north since records began, with the Met Office saying human-induced climate change is responsible for rising temperatures.

Data released on Tuesday shows that the north and Wales experienced their warmest year since 1884, both having consecutive warmest years on record, while the UK as a whole had its second warmest year in 2023.

The Met Office figures also show the north last year had its third wettest year in a series from 1836, and its wettest since 2002.

Rainfall in the north during 2023 was 21% higher than average, with heavy rain causing flooding in areas including Newry in October.

2023 is also shaping up to be the earth’s warmest on record, while the UK’s 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2003, with the five hottest including last year, 2022 and 2020.

Last year also saw the UK’s hottest June on record, and its joint-hottest September, while Met Éireann also recorded 2023 as the Republic’s warmest year in its recently published Irish Climate Report.

Met Office senior scientist Mike Kendon said: “The observations of the UK climate are clear. Climate change is influencing UK temperature records over the long term, with 2023 going down as another very warm year and the second warmest on record. Had the 2023 value occurred during the 20th Century, it would have been, by far, the warmest year on record.

“While our climate will remain variable, with periods of cold and wet weather, what we have observed over recent decades is a number of high temperature records tumbling.

“We expect this pattern to continue as our climate continues to change in the coming years as a result of human-induced climate change.”

Climate attribution senior scientist, Dr Andy Ciavarella, added: “Observations are showing the UK’s climate is changing, but our attribution study, which compares today’s climate with one that was solely influenced by natural factors, has shown that human caused emissions of greenhouse gasses have made this much more likely.”