LAST month has become the the sunniest calendar month on record in the UK, says the Met Office.
Not only that but it’s been the sunniest spring on record for the UK and all the home nations and the driest May on record in England.
In all there were 626 hours of bright sunshine in spring 2020 for the UK, exceeding the previous high of 555 hours set in 1948.
Spring 2020 also exceeded the sunshine amount for most summer seasons, with only three summers being sunnier (1976, 1995, and 1989).
The figure for England is even higher – spring 2020 recorded 696 hours of sunshine, exceeding the previous record set of 594.3 hours.
All UK countries have recorded their sunniest spring on record in series stretching back to 1929.
It has also been the eighth warmest spring on record for the UK, with both England and Wales having their fifth warmest spring and also the fifth driest spring for the UK overall.
However some counties in north east England and eastern Scotland have recorded their driest spring in a rainfall series from 1862.
Dr Mark McCarthy is the head of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre. He said: “The most remarkable aspect is just how much some of the May and Spring records for these climate statistics have been exceeded.
“Exceeding the UK sunshine record is one thing, but exceeding by over 70 hours is truly exceptional.
“The sunshine figures for spring would even be extremely unusual for summer and only three summers would beat Spring 2020 for sunshine hours.
“The principal reason for the dry and sunny weather is the extended period of high pressure which has been centred over or close to the UK.
“This has suppressed the development of clouds and rainfall over the UK, while allowing plenty of sunshine to reach the surface.
“There has been a band of similar weather conditions extending across central parts of Europe, whereas Iberia and parts of Scandinavia have experienced rather wetter conditions.”