Tech

UK summers are likely to regularly feature intense 40°C heatwaves

An illustration of a heatwave over Europe

Sasa Kadrijevic/Alamy

UK summers are likely to regularly see temperatures above 40°C even if humanity manages to limit global warming to 1.5°C, meteorologists have warned.

The UK is already seeing increasingly extreme weather, with 2020 the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record – the first to fall into the top 10 for all three variables. Data published in the The State Of The UK Climate 2020 report today revealed the average winter temperature for last year was 5.3°C, which is 1.6°C higher than the 1981 to 2010 average.

That makes December 2019 to February 2020 the fifth warmest winter on record, while the average temperature last summer was 14.8°C, 0.4°C above the 1981 to 2010 average.

Early August 2020 saw maximum temperatures hit 34°C on six consecutive days, with five “tropical nights” above 20°C, making it one of the most significant heatwaves to affect southern England in the past 60 years, the report’s authors said.

Comparing data from the Central England Temperature series, which goes back to 1772, the research found the early 21st century in this region has been 0.5°C to 1°C warmer than 1901 to 2000 and 0.5 to 1.5°C warmer than 1801 to 1900.

Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, which publishes the report, said the world was already seeing extreme heat as a result of warming of 1.1°C to 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels.

“If you take that up by another 0.3°C, these [heatwaves] are just going to become much more intense – we’re likely to see 40°C in the UK although we have never seen those kinds of temperatures [before],” she said.

“As we hit 1.5°C of global warming, that’s going to not just become something that we see once or twice, it’ll start to become something that we see on a much more regular basis.”

Mike Kendon, climate scientist at the Met Office and lead author of the report, said the figures indicated a new normal for the UK.

“In seven out of the last 10 years, we’ve seen temperatures of 34°C in the UK compared to seven out of the previous 50 years before that,” he said. “So this is an indication of the fact that our baseline of our climate is changing and what we regard as normal is changing.”

Journal reference: International Journal of Climatology, DOI: 10.1002/joc.7285

Sign up for Countdown to COP26, our free newsletter covering this crucial year for climate policy

More on these topics:

Most Related Links :
dutifulnews Governmental News Finance News

Source link

Back to top button