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Cambridge’s new record temperature is confirmed at Botanic Garden





Cambridge has a new record temperature.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden (CUBG) has now confirmed that a temperature of 39.9C (103.8F) was recorded there at 2.02pm on Tuesday (July 19), beating the previous record of 38.7C (101.7F) - which was also the UK record - from 2019.

More than 30 places around the UK beat the 2019 record on Tuesday, with the new UK record now lying with Coningsby in Lincolnshire, where a stifling 40.3C was recorded.

The hottest days on record in the UK. Picture: PA
The hottest days on record in the UK. Picture: PA

Professor Beverley Glover, CUBG director, was dismayed by the sweltering temperatures.

“Recording these high UK temperatures services as a serious reminder that we all need to be taking climate change and its impacts seriously,” she said.

“Our plant collection is being used by world-class researchers around the globe who are interested in studying aspects of plant biology that will help to mitigate this kind of climate change – how we can grow crops in different environments, for example.”

Katie Martyr, horticultural assistant and weather reader at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, records the temperature for Monday, July 18, 2022. Picture: Keith Heppell
Katie Martyr, horticultural assistant and weather reader at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, records the temperature for Monday, July 18, 2022. Picture: Keith Heppell

Every day for more than 100 years, a member of staff at the garden has taken manual weather readings of rainfall, air and ground temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and cloud cover at the weather station in the garden’s research plots. Meteorological records have been kept at the garden since 1904. The data is always confirmed the day after, and is put within the national context.

There was a weather warning for thunderstorms on Wednesday, July 20. Picture: PA
There was a weather warning for thunderstorms on Wednesday, July 20. Picture: PA

CUBG’s Met Office daily reader and assistant horticulturist Katie Martyr records the garden’s weather readings from the previous 24 hours around 10am each morning in the garden’s weather recording book, before forwarding the information onto the Met Office digitally.

[Read more: UK hits ‘highest ever’ temperature smashing previous record set in Cambridge]

She collects the weather data from 10.15am the previous day to 10am that morning. Information is recorded in person from observations including a thermometer reading and digital data reading from the weather station. This is cross-referenced with the Beaufort scale (for wind force) and various other specific information tables, such as for wind direction and speed.

Katie Martyr, horticultural assistant and weather reader at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, records the temperature for Monday, July 18, 2022. Picture: Keith Heppell
Katie Martyr, horticultural assistant and weather reader at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, records the temperature for Monday, July 18, 2022. Picture: Keith Heppell

As temperatures climbed above 40C for the first time on Tuesday, major fire incidents were declared in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire amid the dry conditions.

Heavy showers and thunderstorms were forecast across central, southern and eastern parts of England for today (July 20).

Monday’s reading at the garden. Picture: Keith Heppell
Monday’s reading at the garden. Picture: Keith Heppell

Heatwaves are becoming more more intense, frequent and longer as a result of climate change, with Met Office scientists said it would be “virtually impossible” for the UK to have experienced temperatures reaching 40C without human-driven global warming.

The western carriageway of the A14 at Bottisham melted on Monday, with a ridge developing that police urged drivers to be careful while passing.



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