LAST year was the second warmest on the south coast since records began, the Met Office has revealed.
Statistics show the Portsmouth area basked in 1,682 hours of sunshine during 2011.
This made it the warmest year since 2006 and the second warmest since records began in 1910.
It was also the warmest April and spring on record and the second warmest autumn.
And temperatures at the Met Office’s weather station on Thorney Island hit record-breaking levels when it peaked at 25.2C (77F) on October 1 – the hottest start to an October to date.
The average temperature for the year was 11.19C (52.14F).
In comparison, 2010 was ranked as the tenth coldest on record.
The south coast also enjoyed record low levels of rain with 635.4mm during the whole year – making it the driest since 2005.
Dan Williams, spokesman for the Met Office, said: ‘It’s difficult to pin-point a specific reason for why the year has been such a warm one.
‘We just put it down to natural variation in the weather from year to year.
‘At this stage we can’t link the weather we have seen to global climate change.
‘But in the near future we will be conducting research to see if there has been any particular reason for it.
‘There’s been some great spells this year where people have been able to get out on the beach and enjoy the sunshine.’
But despite the year seeing high temperatures for long periods, figures revealed 2011 ended with ‘close to average’ temperatures of 10C (50F).
The year before temperatures dipped to below freezing and twenty inches of snow fell on high and lower ground.
John Prior, national climate manager at the Met Office, said: ‘While it might have felt mild for many in December, temperatures overall had been close to what we expected.
‘It may be that the stark change from the year before, which was the coldest December on record for the UK, led many to think it had been unseasonably warm.’
As for predicting what might happen in the next 12 months, weather experts say it is still unknown.
‘What has happened before does not give any indication of what the weather might be like in the year to come,’ Mr Williams said.
‘There’s no reason why we could end up seeing Portsmouth having another really warm year or a really cold one.
‘It could go either way.