Over the past few weeks, we have all experienced the highs and lows of a summer heatwave. Whilst some of us have been enjoying the trips to the beach and the endless supplies of ice cream, for others the heat has not been so enjoyable.
For this week’s blog I wanted to take a deeper look into the reality of the new British summer and what these weeks of unbearable heat really indicates.
An article in the Guardian, climate scientist Ella Gilbert examines the current situation and how this has been undermined due to the 1976 heatwave. She says: “1976 was undeniably a hot summer. A really hot summer, in fact. Temperatures topped 32C (89.6F) somewhere in the UK for 15 days on the trot, climbing to a maximum of 35.9C on 3 July. But in many ways, it was nothing like the heatwave we are enduring right now.”
Is this a sign of things to come?
The extreme heat has become a problem across the globe. The spring heatwave in India and Pakistan resulted in power failures, crop losses, fires and ultimately death. Whilst these short bursts of heat are becoming a familiar reality, the lasting damage that they have is the cause for concern.
“In the UK, 30C-odd heatwaves like that of 1976 are now 30 times more likely to occur than if we hadn’t changed our climate. An analysis from the Met Office suggests that 40C heatwaves like this one may happen every 15 years or so by the end of the century.”
It is predicted that “by 2050, 35-degree summers will be commonplace in the south of England, and 40-degree days will become far more frequent. But while many features of that future are reason for alarm, there are also glimpses of a better alternative if the political will can be summoned to fight for it.”
As we think of the future, it is important to consider the ways in which we can make changes today.
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