Blistering Heatwaves Expected in Europe: UK Particularly Vulnerable
A new study conducted by the University of Oxford’s Department of Physics reveals that Europe, especially the UK, is likely to face frequent and extreme heatwaves due to climate change. The research indicates that the hottest days in North-West Europe are warming at twice the rate of average summer days, with England, Wales, and Northern France experiencing the most significant impacts.
According to the report, England and Wales have seen an average summer day temperature rise of approximately 0.26°C per decade, while the hottest day temperature increased by around 0.58°C per decade. This accelerated warming of the hottest days is unparalleled in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Dr. Matthew Patterson, the lead researcher from the University of Oxford, emphasizes that these findings highlight the ongoing effects of climate change and dispel the notion that last year’s record-breaking heatwave in the UK was an isolated incident. Urgent action is required from policymakers to adapt infrastructure and health systems to cope with the escalating temperatures.
In another alarming report, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warns that there is now a 98% chance that one of the next five years will set a new global temperature record. For the first time ever, it is more likely than not that global temperatures will surpass a 1.5-degree Celsius increase within the same period, according to the WMO’s Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update.
Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, states that reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius is more probable than ever before, with a 66% chance of temporary breach by 2027. This escalation is driven primarily by the surge in heat-trapping greenhouse gases, along with the anticipated occurrence of an El Niño event in the tropical Pacific, which will intensify global temperatures.
Additionally, the report highlights the dire situation in the Arctic, where heating is projected to exceed the global average by more than three times. This could result in a tipping point, leading to ice collapse and a substantial rise in sea levels.
The study emphasizes that although the temporary breach of the 1.5-degree Celsius level does not signify a permanent violation of the Paris Agreement, it serves as a warning of increasingly frequent deviations from the long-term warming goals set by the international treaty. Dr. Leon Hermanson from the Met Office stresses the urgent need to address these escalating temperatures, as they continue to push us further away from the climate patterns we are accustomed to.