England has had its joint hottest summer on record, the Met Office said.
Provisional figures show the summer of 2022, covering June, July and August, had an average temperature of 17.1C, tying with 2018 to be the warmest in records stretching back to 1884.
It means that four of the five warmest summers on record for England have occurred since 2003, as the effect of human-induced climate change is felt on the country’s summer temperatures, the Met Office said.
The hot summer included the record-breaking heat in July, which saw temperatures climb above 40C for the first time in the UK, as climate change drives more frequent and intense heatwaves.
Much of England has been gripped by drought after months of low rainfall, with the hot, dry conditions drying up rivers, damaging crops and fuelling wildfires that have destroyed homes and land.
Dr Mark McCarthy, of the National Climate Information Centre, said: “For many, this summer’s record-breaking heat in July – where temperatures reached 40.3C at Coningsby in Lincolnshire – will be the season’s most memorable aspect.
“However, for England to achieve its joint warmest summer takes more than extreme heat over a couple of days, so we shouldn’t forget that we experienced some persistently warm and hot spells through June and August too.”
For East Anglia, where temperatures averaged 18.3C, and parts of North East England, it was the hottest summer on record, while some areas have seen less than half of their typical rainfall for the season.
It was provisionally the fourth warmest summer for the UK overall.
And 2022 so far has been the hottest on record for the UK, for the first eight months of the year in records dating back to 1884, with every month warmer than average.
Dr McCarthy said: “The average temperature for January to August for the UK in 2022 has been 10.51C, making this year so far warmer than the previous record of 10.2C in 2014.
“It is too early to speculate on how the year overall will finish, but the persistent warm conditions are certainly notable and have certainly been made more likely by climate change.”
Despite some rain in the past few weeks, the UK received only 54% of average rainfall in August, with England receiving just 35% of its normal rain for the month.
That adds August to the list of dry months in 2022, with the year so far being the driest since the drought summer of 1976 for both the UK and England, the Met Office figures show.