December 2010 Coldest in UK Since Nationwide Records Began

uk parliament in snow photo

photo: Steve Wilde/Creative Commons

Another one to nip in the bud and contextualize: The UK's Met Office has announced that December 2010 was the coldest in the nation since nationwide records began in 1910. The previous coldest December was in 1981. It was also the second-coldest in central England since 1659. Yes, the 17th century. It's all due to anomalously high air pressure bringing in cold Arctic air.

Here's the big but: This occurs at the same time that global average temperatures are at the highest recorded (or near highest, the official figures for 2010 as a whole haven't yet been released). And the context, via Skeptical Science and Climate Progress:

Since the mid 1970s, global temperatures have been warming at around 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. However, weather imposes its own dramatic ups and downs over the long term trend. We expect to see record cold temperatures even during global warming. Nevertheless over the last decade, daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows. This tendency towards hotter days is expected to increase as global warming continues into the 21st century.

More from BBC News, and the Met Office itself.

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