* UK rainfall totals 1,330.7mm in 2012
* More intense rainfall has become more frequent
LONDON Jan 3 Britain in 2012 experienced its
second wettest year since records began in 1910 and extreme
rainfall has become more frequent, the UK's Met Office said on
Persistent wet weather resulted in total rainfall of
1,330.7mm in 2012, just 6.6mm short of the record set in 2000,
data from the Met Office showed.
The environment agency said over 7,000 properties were
affected by floods in 2012.
"We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK
rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing,"
it said in a statement.
"However, preliminary evidence suggests we are getting
slightly more rain in total and it may be falling in more
Annual rainfall has increased by around 5 percent over the
30-year periods 1961-1990 to 1981-2010. Preliminary research
also suggests "extreme" days of rainfall have become more
frequent since 1960.
Changes in sea-surface temperatures, melting Arctic sea ice
and rising global temperatures could all be influencing
Britain's rainfall patterns but more research needs to be done
on the role they play, the Met Office said.
A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, therefore
increasing rainfall. There has been an increase of around 0.7
degrees Celsius in global temperatures since pre-industrial
This could equate to about a 4 percent increase in moisture
in the atmosphere, the Met Office said.
The Met Office forecast in December that 2013 could be one
of the warmest on record worldwide, with global temperature
expected to rise 0.57 degrees above the long-term average of 14
"The trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we
are seeing around the world, in countries such as India and
China, and now potentially here in the UK," said Julia Slingo,
the Met Office's Chief Scientist.
"It's essential we look at how this may impact our rainfall
patterns going forward over the next decade and beyond, so we
can advise on the frequency of extreme weather in the future and
the potential for more surface and river flooding."
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Keiron Henderson)