Central England temperature

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The Central England Temperature (CET) record is a meteorological dataset originally published by Professor Gordon Manley in 1953 and subsequently extended and updated in 1974, following many decades of painstaking work. The monthly mean surface air temperatures, for the Midlands region of England, are given (in degrees Celsius) from the year 1659 to the present.

Gordon Valentine Manley, FRGS was a British climatologist who has been described as "probably the best known, most prolific and most expert on the climate of Britain of his generation". He assembled the Central England temperature (CET) series of monthly mean temperatures stretching back to 1659, which is the longest standardised instrumental record available for anywhere in the world. It provides a benchmark for proxy records of climatic change for the period covered, and is a notable example of scientific scholarship and perseverance. His two papers describing the work are available online.

In colloquial language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers. Different concepts of average are used in different contexts. Often "average" refers to the arithmetic mean, the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are being averaged. In statistics, mean, median, and mode are all known as measures of central tendency, and in colloquial usage any of these might be called an average value.

Temperature physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold

Temperature is a physical quantity expressing hot and cold. It is measured with a thermometer calibrated in one or more temperature scales. The most commonly used scales are the Celsius scale, Fahrenheit scale, and Kelvin scale. The kelvin is the unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI), in which temperature is one of the seven fundamental base quantities. The Kelvin scale is widely used in science and technology.


This record represents the longest series of monthly temperature observations in existence. It is a valuable dataset for meteorologists and climate scientists. It is monthly from 1659, and a daily version has been produced from 1772. The monthly means from November 1722 onwards are given to a precision of 0.1 °C. The earliest years of the series, from 1659 to October 1722 inclusive, for the most part only have monthly means given to the nearest degree or half a degree, though there is a small 'window' of 0.1 degree precision from 1699 to 1706 inclusive. This reflects the number, accuracy, reliability and geographical spread of the temperature records that were available for the years in question.

Climatology The scientific study of climate, defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time

Climatology or climate science is the scientific study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time. This modern field of study is regarded as a branch of the atmospheric sciences and a subfield of physical geography, which is one of the Earth sciences. Climatology now includes aspects of oceanography and biogeochemistry. Basic knowledge of climate can be used within shorter term weather forecasting using analog techniques such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO), the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO), the Northern Annular Mode (NAM) which is also known as the Arctic oscillation (AO), the Northern Pacific (NP) Index, the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). Climate models are used for a variety of purposes from study of the dynamics of the weather and climate system to projections of future climate. Weather is known as the condition of the atmosphere over a period of time, while climate has to do with the atmospheric condition over an extended to indefinite period of time.

Data quality

Although best efforts have been made by Manley and subsequent researchers to quality control the series, there are data problems in the early years, with some non-instrumental data used. These problems account for the lower precision to which the early monthly means were quoted by Manley. Parker et al. (1992) [1] addressed this by not using data prior to 1772, since their daily series required more accurate data than did the original series of monthly means. Before 1722, instrumental records do not overlap and Manley used a non-instrumental series from Utrecht compiled by Labrijn (1945), to make the monthly central England temperature (CET) series complete.

For recent years there are two versions of the series: the "official" version maintained by the Hadley Centre, and a version maintained by Philip Eden which he argues is more consistent with the series as originally compiled by Manley. [2]

Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

The Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Change — named in honour of George Hadley — is one of the United Kingdom's leading centres for the study of scientific issues associated with climate change. It is part of, and based at the headquarters of the Met Office in Exeter.

Philip Eden weather journalist

Geoffrey Philip Eden FRMetS was a leading British weather journalist and weather historian.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a cool period which coincided with snowy winters and generally cool summers, the temperatures fluctuated widely but with little trend. From 1910, temperatures increased slightly until about 1950 when they flattened before a sharp rising trend began in about 1975. Temperatures in the most recent decade (years 2001-2010) were slightly higher in all seasons than the long-term average. [3]


Taking the 359-year period for the series as a whole:


PeriodRecord MeanYear
Year10.95 °C (51.71 °F)2014 [4]
Spring (March–May)10.27 °C (50.49 °F)2017
Summer (June–August)17.77 °C (63.99 °F)1976
Autumn (September–November)12.63 °C (54.73 °F)2006
Winter (December–February)6.77 °C (44.19 °F)1868/1869
January7.5 °C (45.5 °F)1916
February7.9 °C (46.2 °F)1779
March9.2 °C (48.6 °F)1957
April11.8 °C (53.2 °F)2011
May15.1 °C (59.2 °F)1833
June18.2 °C (64.8 °F)1846
July19.7 °C (67.5 °F)2006
August19.2 °C (66.6 °F)1995
September16.8 °C (62.2 °F)2006
October13.3 °C (55.9 °F)2001
November10.1 °C (50.2 °F)1994
December9.7 °C (49.5 °F)2015


PeriodRecord MeanYear
Year6.86 °C (44.35 °F)1740
Spring (March–May)5.63 °C (42.13 °F)1837
Summer (June–August)13.10 °C (55.58 °F)1725
Autumn (September–November)7.50 °C (45.50 °F)1676
Winter (December–February)−1.17 °C (29.89 °F)1683/1684
January−3.1 °C (26.4 °F)1795
February−1.9 °C (28.6 °F)1947
March1.0 °C (33.8 °F)1674
April4.7 °C (40.5 °F)1701 and 1837
May8.5 °C (47.3 °F)1698
June11.5 °C (52.7 °F)1675
July13.4 °C (56.1 °F)1816
August12.9 °C (55.2 °F)1912
September10.5 °C (50.9 °F)1674, 1675, 1694 and 1807
October5.3 °C (41.5 °F)1740
November2.3 °C (36.1 °F)1782
December−0.8 °C (30.6 °F)1890

Mean, Maximum and Minimum Temperatures

Since 1878, the Central England temperature has recorded daily maximum and minimum temperatures; its daily mean records began in 1772. The tables below show the record average max/min for each season and each calendar month since 1878.

Highest Minimum

PeriodRecord MeanYear
Year7.19 °C (44.94 °F)2006 [5]
Spring (March–May)5.97 °C (42.75 °F)1999 [6]
Summer (June–August)12.40 °C (54.32 °F)2003
Autumn (September–November)9.10 °C (48.38 °F)2006
Winter (December–February)3.83 °C (38.89 °F)1934/35
January5.2 °C (41.4 °F)1916
February4.3 °C (39.7 °F)1903 and 1926
March5.6 °C (42.1 °F)1957
April6.5 °C (43.7 °F)2011
May8.9 °C (48.0 °F)1889 and 1952
June11.6 °C (52.9 °F)2017
July14.0 °C (57.2 °F)1983
August14.0 °C (57.2 °F)1997
September12.8 °C (55.0 °F)2006
October10.2 °C (50.4 °F)2001
November7.7 °C (45.9 °F)1994
December7.0 °C (44.6 °F)2015

Lowest Minimum

PeriodRecord MeanYear
Year4.36 °C (39.85 °F)1879 [5]
Spring (March–May)2.30 °C (36.14 °F)1887 [6]
Summer (June–August)9.70 °C (49.46 °F)1922
Autumn (September–November)4.17 °C (39.51 °F)1919
Winter (December–February)−3.10 °C (26.42 °F)1962/63
January−4.8 °C (23.4 °F)1963
February−5.1 °C (22.8 °F)1985
March−2.0 °C (28.4 °F)1883
April1.4 °C (34.5 °F)1917
May4.7 °C (40.5 °F)1885
June7.9 °C (46.2 °F)1916
July9.8 °C (49.6 °F)1919
August9.3 °C (48.7 °F)1885
September6.6 °C (43.9 °F)1986
October3.2 °C (37.8 °F)1919
November−0.4 °C (31.3 °F)1915
December−3.8 °C (25.2 °F)2010

Highest Maximum

PeriodRecord MeanYear
Year14.84 °C (58.71 °F)2003 [7]
Spring (March–May)15.73 °C (60.31 °F)1893 [8]
Summer (June–August)23.47 °C (74.25 °F)1976
Autumn (September–November)16.23 °C (61.21 °F)2006
Winter (December–February)9.63 °C (49.33 °F)2015/16
January10.3 °C (50.5 °F)1916
February11.3 °C (52.3 °F)2019
March13.8 °C (56.8 °F)1938
April17.1 °C (62.8 °F)2011
May19.0 °C (66.2 °F)1992
June22.6 °C (72.7 °F)1976
July25.6 °C (78.1 °F)2006
August25.1 °C (77.2 °F)1995
September20.9 °C (69.6 °F)2006
October17.1 °C (62.8 °F)1921
November12.5 °C (54.5 °F)1994 and 2011
December12.3 °C (54.1 °F)2015

Lowest Maximum

PeriodRecord MeanYear
Year10.52 °C (50.94 °F)1879 [7]
Spring (March–May)10.10 °C (50.18 °F)1879 [8]
Summer (June–August)16.97 °C (62.55 °F)1879
Autumn (September–November)11.03 °C (51.85 °F)1887
Winter (December–February)2.47 °C (36.45 °F)1962/63
January0.6 °C (33.1 °F)1963
February0.1 °C (32.2 °F)1947
March5.7 °C (42.3 °F)2013
April9.3 °C (48.7 °F)1879
May12.8 °C (55.0 °F)1902
June15.5 °C (59.9 °F)1909
July16.6 °C (61.9 °F)1879
August16.0 °C (60.8 °F)1912
September14.4 °C (57.9 °F)1952
October10.1 °C (50.2 °F)1896
November5.8 °C (42.4 °F)1919
December1.2 °C (34.2 °F)1890

Daily Records

Daily mean temperatures have been available since 1772, with max and min data available from 1878 onward. [9]

Highest Mean

PeriodRecord MeanDate
January11.6 °C (52.9 °F)23 Jan 1834
February12.8 °C (55.0 °F)4 Feb 2004
March14.8 °C (58.6 °F)27 Mar 1777
April19.7 °C (67.5 °F)29 Apr 1775
May21.2 °C (70.2 °F)29 May 1780
June23.0 °C (73.4 °F)3 Jun 1947
July25.2 °C (77.4 °F)29 Jul 1948
August24.9 °C (76.8 °F)1 Aug 1995
September22.6 °C (72.7 °F)1 Sep 1906
October20.2 °C (68.4 °F)1 Oct 1985
November15.4 °C (59.7 °F)5 Nov 1938
December12.9 °C (55.2 °F)12 Dec 1994

Highest Minimum

PeriodRecord MeanDate
January10.5 °C (50.9 °F)3 Jan 1932
February10.8 °C (51.4 °F)4 Feb 2004
March11.2 °C (52.2 °F)30 Mar 1998
April12.3 °C (54.1 °F)24 Apr 2007
May14.6 °C (58.3 °F)30 May 1944
June17.2 °C (63.0 °F)22 Jun 1941
July18.8 °C (65.8 °F)29 Jul 1948
August18.8 °C (65.8 °F)11 Aug 1997
September18.4 °C (65.1 °F)5 Sep 1949
October15.4 °C (59.7 °F)3 Oct 2011
November13.5 °C (56.3 °F)22 Nov 1947
December11.9 °C (53.4 °F)12 Dec 1994

Highest Maximum

PeriodRecord MeanDate
January13.7 °C (56.7 °F)9 Jan 1998
February16.4 °C (61.5 °F)13 Feb 1998
March22.1 °C (71.8 °F)29 Mar 1965
April25.0 °C (77.0 °F)16 Apr 2003
May29.0 °C (84.2 °F)29 May 1944
June30.3 °C (86.5 °F)28 Jun 1976
July33.2 °C (91.8 °F)3 Jul 1976
August33.2 °C (91.8 °F)3 Aug 1990
September31.3 °C (88.3 °F)2 Sep 1906
October27.1 °C (80.8 °F)1 Oct 2011
November18.7 °C (65.7 °F)4 Nov 1946
December14.7 °C (58.5 °F)23 Dec 1977

See also


  1. Parker, D. E., T. P. Legg, and C. K. Folland, 1992: A new daily Central England Temperature Series, 1772-1991. Int J Climatol, 12, 317-342.
  2. Checking the CET
  3. CET Data; Mean annual temperature for 2001 to 2010 is 10.22°C compared to the warmest decade of the 20th century -the 1990s - 10.06°C, and the warmest decade of the period 1659 to 1900 - the 1730s - 9.54°
  4. Mean CET, 2014
  5. 1 2 https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/mly_cet_min_sort.txt
  6. 1 2 https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/ssn_HadCET_min_sort.txt
  7. 1 2 https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/mly_cet_max_sort.txt
  8. 1 2 https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/ssn_HadCET_max_sort.txt
  9. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/cet_record_breakers.html

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