London's record-breaking rainy year

(CBS News) LONDON - Two government agencies reported Tuesday the Earth is getting hotter.

2012 was the 9th warmest year on record. The average temperature last year was 58 degrees -- a full degree above the 20th century average. It doesn't sound like much, but it can affect the weather and sea ice.

London, a city that already has a reputation for rain, experienced its wettest year.

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In June, Britain celebrated 60 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth -- a long reign for her. For everyone else, it was a torrential one.

Bob Ward of the London School of Economics
Bob Ward of the London School of Economics
CBS News

The six and a half inches above average of rain in the United Kingdom is due to warmer air, says climatologist of the London School of Economics.

"The warm atmosphere actually holds more water. The global temperature's increased by about point seven degrees Celsius in the last hundred years, and that means it's holding about 4 per cent more moisture," he said.

In 2012, 8,000 homes and businesses were flooded, and whole farms disappeared under water.

North of London, a seal swam in from the sea across the flooded fields and was last seen 50 miles inland, still swimming.

A seal from the sea spotted swimming across flooded fields north of London.
A seal from the sea spotted swimming across flooded fields north of London.
CBS News
  • Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."


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