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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Mercury rising
Acer at Westonbirt
Lapping up the October sun at Westonbirt arboretum
The late autumn mild spell is set to deliver one of the warmest October days on record, with temperatures in some parts of the country predicted to rise to 23C on Thursday.

The trouble is, record-beating climate conditions seem to crop up with such remarkable frequency these days, it's almost easy to be blase about such things.

Is it all down to global warming? Whatever the reason, it's something the Magazine has decided to keep tabs on. From now on we'll be keeping an eye out for new weather records to bring to readers' attention as and when they happen.

To kick things off, here's some of the latest evidence of extreme weather landmarks in recent memory.

1. Sunday 10 August, 2003, was the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, with the thermometer hitting 38.5C (101.3F) in Brogdale near Faversham in Kent.

2. The 12 months between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001 were the wettest year-long period across England and Wales since records began in 1766.

3. The highest low-land wind recorded in the UK was 123 knots (142.7mph) in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, recorded on 13 February 1989.

4. The UK's warmest year on record was 2003 with a mean temperature of 9.51C (49.1F), exceeding the previous record of 9.48C (49F) in 2002.

5. The winter of 1999/2000 was the sunniest ever recorded over England and Wales.

6. December 2001 was the sunniest in England and Wales, with an average of 2.6 hours per day. This is 183% of the 1961-1990 average.

7. The winter chill in Altnaharra, in the far north of Scotland, plummeted to -27.2C (-17.86F) on 30 December 1995, matching a record set in 1895 and again in 1982.

8. Scotland also holds the record for the highest ever temperature recorded in January, with Aboyne hitting 18.3C (64.9F) on the 26th in 2003. This equalled the previous highest at Aber, in Gwynedd, recorded in January 1971 and January 1958.

9. The autumn of 2000 was the wettest Autumn since records began in 1766.

10. And one from the archives - the longest period without measurable rainfall was recorded at Mile End, in the east end of London, where no rain fell for more than two months, from March 4 to May 15 1893.


Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

So, is it getting warmer or colder? Or sunnier? Or rainier?
Ian Pattison, Chorley, UK

The diversity of the records demonstrates how many different weather variables there are and the many different ways in which they can be measured. Each variable can be measured on a spot basis, or a daily, monthly, seasonal or annual total or mean. Every year it is inevitable that some records will be broken. It is rather like cricket where there are records for each ground, pair of teams, wicket etc,
Jeff, Halesowen, UK

Sometimes on days like today, I struggle to remind myself that global warming is supposed to be a bad thing.
Anna, Littlehampton, UK

It is entirely normal to see some records broken, since we have only had high quality records for a limited period of time. Over time you would expect the number of new records to diminish - but only if the number of opportunities stays the same
David, London

Thank you for highlighting extreme weather landmarks in recent memory. The staff at the Magazine must be getting on a bit though if 1893 (see point 9) is still in their memory! And wasn't August of 2004 the wettest on record?
Sara Alam, Banbury, Oxon

Timely and exhaustive story. The writer should highlight the issue more frequently to grab the attention of the world leaders.
Atanu Mukherjee, Jamshedpur, State Jharkhand, India

Each one of these stats should be followed by "since..." . In the 16th and 17th centuries a lot of Europe, including the UK, had much warmer and dryer summers than now. In Shakespeare's time they regularly held "ice fairs" on the frozen river Thames. Imagine it being so cold that the fast moving Thames could freeze so thickly that hundreds of people could walk on it and even light fires. Some natural weather cycles take place over hundreds of years and those of us living now haven't experienced even relatively recent variations of cold and dryness.
Des, London, UK

October 2005 was the month containing the most speculation about weather records on record.
Andy T, Bath, UK

I enjoy seeing records in an easy to read format
Steven Durham, Acomb York North Yorkshire

My daffs are coming up.
Howard, Hebden Bridge, UK

These 'records' are always far too specific, no wonder we're always hearing of new ones being set...yesterday was the wettest day in my garden since the last time it rained, which is when I first started keeping records.
Dave Richardson, Milton Keynes

I'm sorry but you can take statistics to mean anything. Yes we have had unusually warm and wet weather for 5 years or so but other places in the world such as my home country New Zealand has had unusually cold weather over the same period.
Gareth Gale, London

I think it was one of the Reggie Perrin books that has the line '...was the first day on record that no weather records were broken anywhere in the country.'. And that would have been 30 years ago.
Joe, Folkestone UK

It's interesting to note that the records began (1766) in the middle of what would have been one of the coldest periods of the so-called "Little Ice Age", a three-hundred year period of cool weather in Europe that lasted until 1850. Wikipedia's article on the subject is very interesting.
JC Keates, London

After 40 years recording & interest in weather the main difference now is that weather is more mobile, meaning less spells of anticyclonic weather which gives us fog and colder weather. Remember those quiet, cold, foggy November days? This probably is a result of more westerlies from higher Atlantic sea temperatures forming more depressions.
Steve, Oxford

Am I missing something, but by my understanding there are 365 days each year, so each year, on average, with a random distribution of temperatures, there will be 3.65 of the hottest particular days over the last hundred years.
Paul Campbell, Scunthorpe, England

Sitting sweating in my south-facing office - unable to open any windows because of the massive number of flies which are glorying in the combination of warm and wet weather. Roll on an early frost. Aaarrgghh!!
Alastair, Scottish Borders

I wonder if folks in mile End during the exceptional dry weather in 1893 put this down to global warming?
Tim Evans, Southampton

Record-breaking weather crops up all the time for one very simple reason, which is that there are an extremely large number of variables that one can measure. Since you're looking at the weather that's hottest, coldest, wettest, most sunny, most windy and whatever else you want to think up, and you're measuring it in twelve different months and four different seasons, the chance of at least one of these measurements being exceptional is actually overwhelmingly likely.
Jacob M, London

What does record beating mean? Weather Records go back about 150 years, now compare that to the 1,600 years since the Romans left, the 14,000 years civilization first appeared, the 2 million years humans have walked the Earth or the 63 million years since the Dinosaurs died - then you realise terms like "record beating", "in living memory" and "recorded history" are meaningless when applied to things like the weather and its long term changes.
John Miles, Beds

I lived in the UK from July 2003 to September 2004, and I was there for two of the records. August 2003 was the hottest month and August 2004 was the wettest. I wonder what the future has in store.
Shanti Bharatan, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA, ex Oxford, ex India

I wonder where foreigners get the odd idea that we British are obsessed with the weather?
Steve, Warrington, UK

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