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UK braces for hotter future after 2022’s record-breaking hot weather


UK faces more frequent 40C+ scorchers. AFP/File
UK faces more frequent 40C+ scorchers. AFP/File

The United Kingdom is on course for a future of more severe heatwaves and summers exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, becoming increasingly common due to the relentless impact of climate change, according to a recent warning from the Met Office. 

The national weather service is preparing to release the State of the UK Climate report for 2022, a year that set alarming records with temperatures surpassing the 40C mark for the first time during an unprecedented heatwave.

The global issue of climate change has re-emerged as a hot topic this summer, with raging wildfires devastating parts of Europe, particularly Greece. Deadly heatwaves are also plaguing certain regions in Asia, with experts projecting that China could experience this extreme weather phenomenon every five years due to climate change.

Dr Candice Howarth from the London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute highlights the significance of 2022 for the UK climate, as temperatures soared to 40C for the first time in recorded history. She asserts that this rare heatwave event, which occurred in July, was magnified tenfold by anthropogenic climate change.

The latest study released by the Met Office rings the alarm on the escalating threats posed by climate change. Last year’s record-breaking heatwave not only brought excessive deaths but also resulted in devastating wildfires and extensive property damage, leading the government to declare a national emergency.

The report sheds light on a concerning pattern of intensifying heatwaves, with nearly one in four months over the last decade ranking among the warmest ever recorded. Even under an optimistic scenario with medium emissions, extreme temperatures are projected to increase in frequency. Astonishingly, the scorching temperatures experienced in 2022 might be considered “cool” by 2100, indicating a harrowing future for the nation.

Climate change’s impact on UK wildlife is also a growing concern, with species like birds, bumblebees, flowers, and trees forced to adapt their patterns in response to changing seasons—a silent testament to the gravity of climate change, as described by phenologist Fritha West.

As the UK faces the reality of a hotter and more unpredictable climate, experts stress the urgent need for robust measures to reduce emissions and enhance preparedness for inevitable extreme weather events. The Met Office’s report comes in the wake of potential green policy revisions suggested by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak following a London by-election result that revealed voter resistance to extending a scheme taxing polluting vehicles.

The urgency to act has been further emphasised by Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth, who underscores the need for measures that cut emissions and bolster the country’s resilience against extreme weather impacts.


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