Extreme rain and 40°C heat 'will become the norm in the UK'

Scientists say climate change is 'happening now' and the UK is not prepared.

7/29/2021 3:40:00 PM

The UK is already seeing increasingly extreme weather, with 2020 the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record.

Scientists say climate change is 'happening now' and the UK is not prepared.

he UK is already seeing increasingly extreme weather (Picture: PA)Summer temperatures will regularly exceed 40°C in the UK even in a best-case scenario of just 1.5C of global warming, meteorologists have warned.Storms would also become considerably more ferocious as a 1.5C rise in the temperature means the atmosphere can hold more water.

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The UK is already seeing increasingly extreme weather, with 2020 the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record – the first ever to fall into the top 10 for all three variables.The Met Office’s State Of The Climate 2020 report found this will become the norm even if world leaders can take the actions needed to meet their target of limiting warming to 1.5C – which most experts believe to be extremely unlikely.

Data shows that the period 1991-2020 was 0.9C warmer and 6% wetter than the preceding 30 years and that six of the 10 wettest years for the UK since 1862 have happened since 1998.Lead author of the report, Mike Kendon, said: ‘What these observations are showing us is that we are seeing this emerging pattern of more high-temperature extremes in the UK, but we’re also seeing more rainfall extremes for the UK, obviously as our climate warms, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. headtopics.com

‘I’m worried. As a scientist, I’m worried looking at these observations. I’m a dad. I worry about the future for my children.’Summer temperatures could regularly exceed 40C in the UK (Picture: PA)The Met Office report found the average winter temperature for last year was 5.3C – 1.6C higher than the 1981 to 2010 average.

That makes December 2019 to February 2020 the fifth warmest winter on record, while the temperature last summer was 0.4C above average.Early August 2020 saw temperatures hit 34°C on six consecutive days, with five ‘tropical nights’ where the mercury did not drop below 20°C, making it one of the most significant heatwaves to affect southern England in the past 60 years.

Professor Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said the world was already seeing extreme heat as a result of warming of 1.1C to 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.‘If you take that up by another 0.3C, 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 1.5C 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.’2020 was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record (Picture: Met Office) headtopics.com

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Hotter temperatures will become the new normal due to climate change (Picture: Met Office)She warned of the danger of seeing warmer weather through ‘rose-tinted glasses’ as extreme heat will bring many problems.‘When we saw the extreme heat events over the summer last year, the roads were starting to melt, on the rail network the rails started to buckle so all the trains have to slow down and we see lots of cancellations and postponements. The electrical cabling starts to buckle as well, and so we see power outages,’ she said.

‘The impacts that it’s going to have on our daily lives [mean] it will start to have a much more negative effect than just some kind of warm sunny day.’The UK’s hottest day on record happened on July 25 2019, when the mercury reached 38.7°C at Cambridge Botanic Garden.

Temperatures have reached 34°C in the UK in seven of the last 10 years, compared to seven out of the previous 50 years before that.Mr Kendon said: ‘This is an indication of the fact that our baseline of our climate is changing and what we regard as normal is changing.’

He warned man-made global warming will last ‘for a very, very long time to come’, adding scientists at the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre had been ‘blown away’ by the extreme heat of 49.6°C seen on the west coast of Canada in recent weeks. headtopics.com

A warmer atmosphere leads to more rainfall as the air can hold more water (Picture: Gettt)‘An event like that would basically be pretty much impossible without the influence of manmade warming, that’s obviously a very severe impact,’ he said.As well as being warmer, since 2009 the UK has recorded its wettest February in 2020, its wettest April and June in 2012, the wettest November in 2009 and the wettest December in 2015, out of a series going back to 1862.

Last year logged two of the three wettest days on record – February 15 and October 3 2020 – from a data set of 47,000 days.The year also saw 10 named storms, including Ciara and Dennis, which struck in quick succession in February and caused severe flooding in Cumbria, Wales and Yorkshire.

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The government has announced it will spend £860m on flood defence schemes this year across the country to help protect ‘thousands of homes and businesses’.But the Environment Agency said there is no way to fully protect every property and business at risk.

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What a load of tosh, The big picture is very worrying but, imo, one thing we should be doing is retaining much more of this rainfall so that we don't have water shortages in the future.

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