UK Average Temperatures Explained

UK Average Temperatures Explained

Average temperatures

UK average temperatures

In the UK the average temperature varies from around 4 C in winter to around 15 C in summer. In the north there are usually around 1,000 hours of sunshine per year; in the south there is an average of 1,750 hours. The amount of rain varies dramatically. In Glasgow there are an average of 44 inches of rain; in London just 23 inches. This is one reason why there are often water shortages in the south; another reason is a higher population density.

The characteristics of the UK climate can be explained by where we sit on the globe.

In the UK people often complain about our weather. There is a perception that it is always raining, but in fact the average rainfall in London and Manchester is lower than in Rome and Madrid!

Weather within the UK varies from north to south, east to west, and from low to high ground. Generally speaking, the weather is colder the further north you go, but this is not always the case. For instance, the climate of the Western Isles of Scotland might be warmer than on higher ground in the Pennines, and the Western coast is generally windier and wetter than areas to the east.

There is also a common belief that our winters are harsh, but actually the average winter temperature of the UK is warmer than other countries on the same latitude because of the ‘gulf stream‘. The gulf stream is a giant current of water that flows in a north-easterly direction from the Caribbean towards the UK and Ireland. This current keeps the water around our islands warm and prevents our weather becoming too extreme.

Due to its position, the UK has very changeable weather, and is very windy. This means the weather changes quickly, so it does sometimes feel like our weather is unreliable and the sun never shines. However, if there was no gulf stream to keep our islands warm, every winter would be similar to that experienced in countries on a similar latitude, such as Canada for example.