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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

UK set for another scorching summer sparked by global warming | World News


The UK is expected to be hotter than usual this summer, but temperatures are not expected to break last year’s record levels.

UK heatwave: People walk in front of the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben in London, England. (Reuters)

Read it here: UK’s ‘African plume heatwave’: All you need to know

Climate scientists at the Met Office and the EU’s Earth-observing agency Copernicus said early signs were of above-average heat for the rest of the month and early July in the UK and across southern Europe. But it’s hard to predict whether the UK will see another day when mercury breaches the 40C (104F) mark, as it did last July.

“You can never rule that out,” said Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell. “At this stage, all we can say is that temperatures are likely to be average or above by the end of August.” Read more in 2022: UK hits record heat amid miserable summer in Europe

Last July, the UK baked in scorching heat, with temperatures in London hitting an unprecedented 40.2C and sparking fires across the city. After more than three weeks without rain in London – an unusually long dry spell for the metropolis – the HSA issued a heat health alert for parts of the country over the weekend. Peak temperatures in the UK are usually reached around the end of July and reliable forecasts are only available a few weeks in advance. Higher-than-average temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) are expected this weekend, but not unprecedented or particularly unusual for June, Snell said.

Researchers are pretty sure it will be a warmer-than-average summer. The Met Office puts the chance of a cool summer at just 5%, while the odds of a hot summer are twice as high as usual.

Ed Hawkins, professor of climate science at the University of Reading, said global warming meant hotter was the new normal. The UK is warming one and a half times faster than the global average. “Our averages, nights and days are getting warmer,” Hawkins said. “We don’t notice the changes from summer to summer, or day to day, but when we have big heat waves, we Will definitely notice.”

Read it here: Global warming is accelerating by 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade, scientists warn

The situation is similar in southern Europe, including Spain and Italy. Warm temperatures look more likely than cool or average weather, according to Copernicus’ predictions. The forecast for this time last year made the same prediction, but with more confidence. Snell said an early sign of looming heat in 2022 came from a very dry spring in the UK and Europe. Aided by cloudless skies and winds that bring hot, dry air from the mainland, the dry ground has created the conditions for the UK’s sweltering heat. “Even in this warming climate, to get to 40C in the UK you have to get absolutely perfect conditions,” he said. “A few wisps of cloud can lower the temperature by a certain amount.”

Still, there’s no question that unusually dry and hot conditions are happening more often. According to the European Drought Observatory, about 37 percent of Europe is under drought warnings or alerts, especially in Spain and Portugal. Despite recent heavy rains in southern Europe, Copernicus’ forecasts suggest that the rainfall will not be enough to fully offset the drought. Heavy rain falling on dry ground is also more likely to be lost rather than absorbed. Read more: Rising temperatures trigger Europe’s first summer heat warning Britain is also set to experience some wet weather this weekend, which could lead to some flash flooding, the Met Office said in a weather warning issued on Saturday. “It looks like a warm summer, but it could also be a Dorey summer,” Snell said.

Hot weather causes health problems, as well as problems with transportation and energy infrastructure. The HSA issued its latest heat health alert on Thursday, warning of “significant impacts” from the weekend, including overheating indoors, unsafe temperatures in hospitals and care homes and an increase in deaths. The elderly and vulnerable groups are particularly at risk, the alert said, but young people could also be affected.

Following last year’s sweltering summer, the UK government has updated its heat warning system this year to pay more attention to the health implications. Mortality from climate change-related heat is expected to cost the economy £6.4bn a year over this decade, government modeling shows. Nearly 3,000 additional deaths were recorded during last year’s heatwave – the highest death toll of any year on record.

Read it here: From tactics to strategy – climate solutions head in the right direction

Government plans published last month make recommendations for hospitals, schools and voluntary groups, including creating a “cool room” where temperatures are kept below 26 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit), installing thermometers to monitor indoor temperatures and checking medicines for overheating . In London, local authorities have created a map of “cool spaces” for places like libraries and community centers where people can take a break.


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