SCORCHING days with 40C heat could become the norm by the end of the century.
Without action against greenhouse gas emissions, scientists say temperatures will continue to soar.
UK heatwaves have led to 3,400 early deaths from 2016-19[/caption]
Currently the chances of temperatures reaching 40C anywhere in the UK are extremely low[/caption]
Global heating has already made UK heatwaves 30 times more likely and extreme temperatures led to 3,400 early deaths from 2016-19.
The new records suggest regular 40C heat might be on the horizon for the UK and pose a severe risk to people’s health.
Researchers at the Met Office Hadley Centre say activities such as burning fossil fuels has put the UK on a course to see extremes that would be highly unlikely under a “natural” climate.
Currently the chances of temperatures reaching 40C anywhere in the UK are extremely low.
But if emissions continue at high levels, worsening climate change, the UK could see days with 40C heat every three to four years on average by 2100, the study published in the journal Nature Communications found.
Lead author Dr Nikolaos Christidis said: “We found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to do so during the course of the century, with the most extreme temperatures expected to be observed in the south-east of England.
ACTION IS NEEDED
“Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK.
“The chances of seeing 40C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.
“The likelihood of exceeding 40C anywhere in the UK in a given year has also been rapidly increasing, and, without curbing of greenhouse gas emissions, such extremes could be taking place every few years in the climate of 2100.”
Co-author and head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre Dr Mark McCarthy said: “This research shows human-caused climate change has set us on a course to see temperature extremes in the UK that would be highly unlikely under a ‘natural’ climate, although urgent action to reduce emissions now can significantly reduce the occurrence of extreme high temperatures in the UK in the future.”
The Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change has previously warned the UK is unprepared for the health impacts of increasing heatwaves, which can raise the risk of illness and deaths, particularly among the elderly or those with existing health conditions.
Action is needed to prevent overheating in homes, hospitals and on public transport, the committee has warned.
The UK could see days with 40C heat every three to four years on average by 2100[/caption]
Heatwaves can risk of illness and deaths, particularly among the elderly[/caption]
The committee has warned that action is needed to prevent overheating in homes, hospitals and on public transport[/caption]
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