2014 is warmest year since records began - and third wettest

If climate trends continue, Europe could become a hotbed of dengue fever

Environment Editor

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The UK has had the warmest weather since records began this year and the third highest amount of rain, according to figures from the Met Office.

The latest figures confirm a trend towards warmer and wetter weather, which many scientists say provides evidence that climate change is having a clear impact on conditions.

The average monthly temperature between the start of January and the end of July was 9.65C, up from 7.7C over the same period last year and the highest since records began in 1910.

Meanwhile, the UK saw 727mm of rainfall in the first six months of the year, compared to 504.7mm last year, the Met Office said.

Even excluding 2014, the UK’s seven warmest years on record since 2000 - and four of the five wettest years - have all occurred since 2000.

“There is clear evidence of the impact that climate change is having right now in the UK and that the floods are linked to climate change. This has obvious significance for policymakers,” said Bob Ward, policy director of the London School of Economics’ Grantham Institute.

Video: Britain enjoys July heatwave

Mr Ward added that we should expect a continuing increase in both warm and rainy weather as climate change increasingly takes hold because the warmer the atmosphere the more water it holds.

The warm, rainy weather has been evident across the country this year. Spring came early, while a number of birds typically associated with the Mediterranean have made rare appearances over the summer.

These include glossy ibises, bee-eaters and black-winged chicks.

Meanwhile, the Royal Horticultural Society put gardeners on “powdery mildew” alert this week, warning that fruit and vegetables were threatened by the fungus which is having a “bumper year” due to the wet and warm conditions.

Separately, the University of East Anglia warned yesterday that dengue fever could make headway in European holiday destinations by 2040 if climate change continues on its predicted trajectory. Coastal regions around the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, the Po Valley and North East Italy were most at risk, according to research by the University.

Dengue fever is a tropical disease caused by a virus that is spread by mosquitoes, with symptoms including fever, headaches and muscle and joint pain.

Because the mosquitoes that carry and transmit the virus thrive in warm and humid conditions, it is more commonly found in areas with these weather conditions.

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