London's Average Temperature Has Risen Since 2019 – But Focusing On 1 Short-Term Stat Is Misleading

If we look at data since 2014 – we get an entirely different perspective on the capital's averages.
A protester holds a large banner at Parliament Square in London during the March To Demand An End To Fossil Fuels.
A protester holds a large banner at Parliament Square in London during the March To Demand An End To Fossil Fuels.
SOPA Images via Getty Images

There is no escaping the climate crisis these days, even though the UK is far from one of the countries to suffer most – and these stats prove it.

And, after last year’s record-breaking heatwaves, it’s not surprising that the data shows London has experienced a significant hike in its average temperature.

Between 2019 and 2023, there was a 1.29% increase in the UK capital’s average temperature, as the mercury crept up from 16.8C to 17C.

This, obviously, does not sound great.

But, if we take a step back, we can see that London actually had the largest decrease in temperature of any country in the OECD – the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, since 2014 – according to this new study from Utility Bidder.

The energy consultants have been charting how the average temperatures in the capitals of the OECD nations change, to see which have been most affected by the changes happening in our climate.

They even looked back to 19 years ago, to understand the wider picture – and bizarrely found London was actually hotter in 2004, when it’s average temperature was 20.3C.

By 2014, it was 19.7C, and 2019, it was 16.8C. With that put in perspective, even after a record-breaking heat seen last July, the average of 17C by 2023 seems fairly reasonable.

But, it wasn’t such a gradual change for every country.

Utility Bidder’s Global Temperature Index found that Turkey’s Ankara has the largest shift in temperature since 2019, with its average shooting up from 22.4C to 26.4C – a change of 18.24%.

And, when you look back to 2004, it’s Canada’s capital which has seen the most shocking temperature change.

Ottawa’s temperature has increased by 31.35% in nearly 20 years, going up from 14.3C on average to 18.8C.

Why is it important to monitor average temperatures?

An international deal struck in 2015, called the Paris Agreement, saw countries from around the world pledge to stop climates increasing beyond 1.5C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The United Nations (UN) said this change will put the world in “uncharted territory” but it is likely to become an increasingly frequent phenomenon.

Scientists from the World Meteorological Organisation warned in May that the world is almost certainly likely to experience temperatures higher than the 1.5°C rise by 2027 – even if for a brief period of time, with the climate crisis exacerbated by various weather systems.

To take just one example of how our world is expected to change significantly depending on the climate, it’s thought the Arctic would become ice-free once a century at 1.5C. At 2°C, it would be ice-free once every decade.

In turn, that means sea levels could rise by between one to three feet by 2100, according to the UN’s research group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and potentially posing a threat to life.


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