Study: Heatwaves on the rise in UK

Heatwaves are becoming more frequent in the UK

The grass has dried up in London’s Hyde Park. Photograph

© Sebastian Gollnow/dpa

A new study highlights the impact of climate change on the UK, predicting an increase in extreme temperatures and heatwaves.

According to a study in mid-July, heat waves in Great Britain will become more frequent due to climate change.

Using computer models, an international team of researchers compared recent temperatures 40 degrees below current climate with a world without a 1.2 degree global temperature increase since the late 19th century. The result suggests that climate change driven by human-made greenhouse gases makes such an extreme heat wave at least tenfold more likely.

21 researchers from Germany, Great Britain and the United States came to this published conclusion in collaboration with the World Weather Attribution Group. Whether and to what extent extreme weather events are responsible for global warming is called attribution research. On July 19, England recorded over 40 degrees Celsius for the first time. The heat has led to disruptions in local public transport, and hundreds are estimated to have died as a result of the heat.

In Europe and the rest of the world, there are more record-setting heat waves, warming faster than most climate models predict, said Friedrich Otto, a German climate researcher at Imperial College London. “This is a worrying finding that suggests the impact of climate change on Europe’s already deadly extreme heat will be worse than we previously thought unless CO2 emissions are reduced quickly,” Otto said.

Extreme temperatures in Great Britain are higher than previously modeled, according to scientists. This means that climate change will lead to even more heat waves. In the current climate, temperatures above 40 degrees are still rare in the region. But they are “almost impossible” without climate change.


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