UK’s 40C heatwave ‘basically impossible’ without climate change

Britain is not adapted to the high temperatures seen last week, experts say

Britain is not adapted to the high temperatures seen last week, experts say

Record temperatures in the UK last week would have been “almost impossible” without man-made climate change, leading scientists have concluded.

The UK recorded temperatures above 40C for the first time on 19 July.

Without man-made climate change, these would be 2C to 4C cooler, say the experts.

It’s a taste of what’s to come, they say, with more heat waves, fires and droughts predicted in the coming years.

The extreme heat caused significant disruption in the UK and experts warn that more temperature-related deaths will be high. Forest fires also destroyed homes and nature in some places.

The world has warmed by about 1.1 degrees since the industrial revolution about 200 years ago. Greenhouse gases have been pumped into the atmosphere by activities such as burning fuels, which have warmed the Earth’s atmosphere.

The findings were released by the World Weather Attribution Group – a collection of leading climate scientists who meet after an extreme weather event to determine whether climate change made it more likely.

They looked at three individual weather stations that recorded very high temperatures – Cranwell, Lincolnshire, St James Park in London and Durham.

Dr Friederike Otto of Imperial College London, who leads the World Weather Attribution group, told BBC News that even in today’s climate such temperatures were still rare and we would expect them between once every 500 years and once every 1500th year.

But she said that as global temperatures rose, the likelihood of this warming happening more regularly would increase.

“We wouldn’t have last week’s temperatures without climate change, that’s for sure,” she said. These temperatures are at least 2C higher, but the real figure is probably closer to 4C higher than a world without anthropogenic climate change, she explained.

The researchers use a combination of looking at temperature records going back in time, and complex mathematical models that consider how man-made climate change affects the weather.

“Because we know very well how many greenhouse gases have been put into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution, we can take these things out of the model and simulate a world that might have been without climate change,” says Dr. Otto.

It allows the researchers to compare the two different scenarios – a world with 1.1 C of warming and a world without that temperature increase.

Dr Otto says that if we want to keep this kind of heat a rare event, the UK needs to reach net zero “very soon”. It is the point at which we stop increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The government’s goal is to reach net zero by 2050.

“Every little bit of warming really makes these kinds of events more likely and even hotter. Heat waves are much more deadly than other extreme weather like floods and climate change is a game-changer for heat waves,” she explained.

The researchers also say it shows that the UK is not adapted to hot temperatures, with our homes, hospitals, schools and travel networks unable to withstand the high temperatures.

Climate change is affecting all parts of the globe, with extreme heat this year affecting countries including India, the US, Australia, Spain and Germany.

Politicians globally are committed to keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5C, but environmentalists say progress is going far too slowly.

– The climate has already changed – we are and will continue to suffer the consequences of the authorities’ inaction, says Greenpeace UK’s climate manager, Rosie Rogers, to BBC News. “How bad things get depends on how much or how little governments now decide to do to get rid of fossil fuels.”

“As one of the world’s largest historical emitters, the UK has an obligation to step up and rapidly cut emissions to zero,” she said. “The new prime minister must act on these climate warnings, and set an example for others to follow.”

To tackle climate change, scientists say we must cut our emissions, change the way we produce and use energy, and protect the nature that helps absorb greenhouse gases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *