The UK has experienced its warmest winter day on record, the Met Office has revealed.
Temperatures in Kew Gardens, south-west London, reached 21.2C (70.2F), breaking the record for the warmest February day. The Met Office defines winter from the beginning of December to the end of February, so Tuesday’s sunny spell is also a winter record.
The record had already been broken on Monday, when temperatures exceeded 20C during winter for the very first time. This week’s unseasonably warm weather differs dramatically from the beginning of the month, when sub-zero temperatures were recorded across the country.
The previous winter record had been 19.7C in Greenwich, south-east London, in 1998.
“The average temperature for this time of year is 9C in London and 9C in north Wales, so what we’re seeing is 10 degrees above average,” said Martin Bowles, a Met Office meteorologist.
Bowles said: “We can’t blame climate change directly because we’re talking about weather, not the climate. But it is a sign of climate change. There’s been a gradual increase of temperatures over the last 30 years so the extreme weather has also been increasing.”