The planet is thought to have measured its hottest consecutive seven days ever last week as the global average temperature soared to around 17.23C.
Scientists think we will have had the warmest year on record by 2027, but closer to home, what does this mean for the weather in Kent? Alex Langridge reports
Tammy Woodhouse is the managing director of Millbrook Gardening Company and has noticed a change in customers’ habits.
Because of climate change the firm is encouraging people to grow a Mediterranean garden which can survive the extreme weather patterns we are now seeing.
She said: “The planet is changing, weather patterns are changing. It is definitely getting more extreme.
“It is not just the weather getting hotter in summer, it is also getting wetter and colder in winter. There are a lot of plants that do not like those two extremes.
“As the summers get very dry, we are finding people are growing more in pots and we are promoting plants that do not mind the heat and dry weather.”
Tammy said the company, which has garden centres in Gravesend and Staplehurst, is having to change the types of plants it buys so they can survive these new summer and winter months the country is experiencing and adapt to the changing weather patterns.
She explained a lot of people lost plants last winter in the frost so the garden centre is working to educate customers on what will thrive each season such as silvery, succulent, hairy and scrappy leaves, which can keep moisture in and survive the heat.
The firm has been promoting plants such as cat mint, senecio or angel wings, grass, lavender, and rosemary, as they like the hot, sunny weather.
Customers are also being encouraged to think Mediterranean or Tuscan when designing their gardens and plant olive trees, palms, and geranium, which are often found in Spain and France.
Milbrook, in Station Road, Southfleet, near Gravesend, has also created in-store displays arranging its garden furniture in front of Greek backdrops.
Tammy, who took over the family business in 2009, added: “People are staying at home and are not going on holiday so they are buying furniture and planting a lot more pots and containers to make their gardens a nice place to sit in the evening.
“The last few years, particularly with Covid, we have seen really good sales of garden furniture. People are using their patios, garden furniture and barbeques a lot more.”
The garden centre takes half of the year’s earnings between March and May as it begins to warm up and people start to garden.
“We are very weather dependant, it really depends each year,” she added. “It has always been the summer where we get the most business but that season has started to begin a little bit earlier in March.
Last month, the Met Office recorded an average temperature of 15.8°C for the country, making it the hottest June on record and 2.5°C higher than average.
And Kent was no exception as temperatures reached as high as 32.3°C, in Sittingbourne, according to weather enthusiast Jeremy Procter.
Jeremy has been recording the weather since October 2011 after he moved to the area from Scotland, and has seen an almost 2.5°C increase of the annual mean temperature over 10 years.
He explained that “there has been an increase in more severe weather conditions” over this period due to “deep depressions” – low pressure fronts – crossing the region.
Since he began recording, the hottest average monthly temperature was 20.5°C in July 2022, with the hottest day on record seen on July 19, 2022, when temperatures reached 41.7°C.
Garden centres are not the only businesses seeing the increasing impacts of the new weather patterns.
Brewer BarthHaas, which has offices in Paddock Wood, has said growers and brewers need to work together in the face of climate change, soaring raw material costs and energy price hikes.
It has started an international campaign, Thriving Together in an Ever-Changing World, to draw attention to the issues the industry is facing.
Head of purchasing Stephan Schinagi explained climate change and the extreme weather conditions it brings are causing crops to struggle and “increasingly, frequent grain and hop supply fluctuations”.
The county has also seen hundreds of dead fish floating on the surface of ponds and rivers and jellyfish washing up on beaches due to the changes in the weather.
The Environment Agency says it is common with changes in the weather.
As temperatures rise in the summer, the number of incidents staff at the authority are called to regarding dead fish is higher than any other time of the year.
Despite the occurrences being natural, experts say the sights could become more common with climate change.
Climate change does not only mean warmer summers but also wetter and colder winters. In Sittingbourne, the wettest month Jeremy has seen was November 2022 when 180.2mm of rainfall was measured.
The Met Office’s Mark McCarthy, who works in the team responsible for weather and climate records, said: “It was officially the hottest June on record for the UK, for mean temperature as well as average maximum and minimum temperature.
“June started with a good deal of high pressure and temperatures initially around average for many, but once that subsided, warm, humid air began to influence temperatures, with 32.2°C the highest temperatures reached.
“What is striking is the persistent warmth for much of the month, with temperatures widely into the mid 20s Celsius for many and even into the low 30s at times.”
The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) latest report has also found there is 98% chance that by 2027 we would have recorded the warmest year on record.
There is a two-in-three chance that global average temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
This is because of the naturally occurring El Niño event – declared when sea temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific rise above 0.5 °C above the long-term average - and human-induced climate change.
Dr Leon Hermanson is one of the Met Office scientists behind the report. He said: “The report shows that the next five years are expected to bring new temperature records.
“These new highs will be fuelled almost completely by the rise of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but the anticipated development of the naturally-occurring El Niño event will also release heat from the tropical Pacific.
“Global temperatures are predicted to continue increasing, moving us further and further away from the climate we are used to.”
The average global temperature in 2022 was around 1.15°C above the 1850-1900 average.