Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for United Kingdom's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of United Kingdom's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification, 1991-2020
  • Af
  • Am
  • As/Aw
  • BWh
  • BWk
  • BSh
  • BSk
  • Csa
  • Csb
  • Csc
  • Cwa
  • Cwb
  • Cwc
  • Cfa
  • Cfb
  • Cfc
  • Dsa
  • Dsb
  • Dsc
  • Dsd
  • Dwa
  • Dwb
  • Dwc
  • Dwd
  • Dfa
  • Dfb
  • Dfc
  • Dfd
  • ET
  • EF

The United Kingdom (UK) lies between latitude 49°N and 61°N and longitude 8°E and 2°W, positioned in the north western part of Europe. Around 71% (17.4 million hectares) of the total UK land area is used for agriculture (2016). The total population of the UK was estimated to be 67.2 million (2020) people, with over 83% living in urban areas. The UK economy is dominated by the service sector (79% of GDP) (2017), which has been the driver of growth in recent years. 

The UK is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change from extreme weather events and changes in climatic conditions, such as sea level rise and increase in temperature. Mean sea level around the UK has risen by approximately 1.4 mm/year since 1910, when corrected for land movement. Sea surface temperatures around the UK for the most recent decade (2007 – 2016) have been on average 0.3°C warmer than the 1981 – 2010 average and 0.6°C warmer than 1961 – 1990. These changes increase risks related to flooding, making infrastructure in the country vulnerable to a range of climate impacts.