PEOPLE in Oxford can look forward to more warm and wet weather, according to scientists who recorded the warmest 12 months on record for 200 years.
Readings carried out yesterday at the Oxford University weather station by Dr Ian Ashpole, Radcliffe Meteorological Observer, confirmed 2014 was the warmest since records began in 1815.
The researcher’s forecast for the next few decades is more mild conditions.
Dr Ashpole, 28, who works in the university’s School of Geography and Environment, said: “Warm and wet weather for the next 50 years in Oxford is a fairly safe forecast.”
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Last year saw the wettest winter for nearly 250 years, and the second driest September on record.
The average annual temperature for 2014 was 11.5C, 1.8 degrees higher than the 200-year average of 9.7C, a significant difference in weather terms. The previous warmest year was 2006, with an average of 11.4C.
Dr Ashpole said the mild weather conditions are likely to result from global warming. He added: “While the hottest year on record may get all the headlines, it is much more important for everyone to be aware of the underlying trend.
“Sixteen of the 18 warmest years since 1815 have occurred since 1989 – those are extraordinary figures.
Crowds relaxing in the sunshine at Witney’s first charity jazz festival in June
“Such a large clustering of warmest years in the past 25 years suggests global warming.”
Dr Ashpole said the flip-side of the coin was fewer cold years.
“Despite the odd cold spell in recent years, none of the 50 coldest years since 1815 have occurred after 1990,” he added.
On Sunday, a temperature of -7.6C was recorded at RAF Benson, England’s lowest temperature of the year.
Floods in West Oxford last February
Prof Myles Allen, a colleague of Dr Ashpole, added: “It is not just global climate that is changing – we are starting to see the cumulative impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the weather, even at the scale of a city like Oxford. Human influence on climate increased the odds of such a warm year in Oxford by around a factor of five.”
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