2012 was wettest year on record in England

Provisional figures from the Met Office have confirmed 2012 as the wettest year on record for farmers in England and the second wettest year in the UK since records began in 1910.

The persistent wet weather meant that 2012 was the soggiest year on record for England, the third wettest for Wales, 17th wettest for Scotland and 40th wettest for Northern Ireland.

In total, 2012 rainfall for the UK was 1330.7mm, which is just 6.6 mm short of the record set in 2000.

The exceptionally wet year was characterised by a dry start which quickly gave way to very wet weather, with April and June both being the wettest on record.

Unsettled weather then continued through to the end of the year, with December being the 8th wettest on record for the UK.

Further analysis by the Met Office points to the UK getting wetter as a whole  – with slightly more rain in total than in the past and a sense that it may be falling in more intense bursts.

Records show there have been a high frequency of wet years since 2000 in the UK – with four of the top five wettest years occurring since then.

Top Five Wettest Years in the UK

 Year Total UK rainfall 
 2000 1337.3 mm 
 2012  1330.7 mm
 1954  1309.1 mm
 2008  1295.0 mm
 2002  1283.7 mm


Long-term averages of 30-year periods show an increase in annual rainfall of about 5% from 1961-1990 to 1981-2010.

Preliminary research from the Met Office also suggests we may have seen a change in the nature of the rain we get, with ‘extreme’ daily rainfall becoming more frequent.

An analysis of 1 in 100 day rainfall events since 1960 indicates these ‘extreme’ days of rainfall may have become more frequent over time.

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