Britain is known for many things across the globe but a hot, tropical climate is not one of them.
However, it appears that cold climates could become a thing of the past.
Scientist have warned that Britain could experience its first 40C day within a decade as the frequency of heatwaves increase.
Last week saw temperatures soar across London and the rest of the country, with England registering an annual high – and Northern Ireland breaking an all-time record, reports The Mirror.
READ MORE: London Weather: Scorching 33C heatwave leaves roads melted ‘like chocolate’
(Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Experts have warned that such temperatures could soon become the norm if carbon emissions continue to increase – and could be fatal for thousands.
Chloe Brimicombe, a heatwave hazards researcher at the University of Reading, told the Sunday Times : “Southern England could see its first 40-degree day within the next 10 years.
“Most of our rail network would not be able to run in those sorts of temperatures.
“We would see increased pressure on water resources, productivity would be reduced, and it could affect our livestock and our crops.”
Scientists also fear that the increased temperatures could be deadly.
According to Public Health England, the three heatwaves over last summer killed 2,556 people in England, with around 2,244 being over 65.
Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “The reality is that we are not set up for it in this country. Other hotter countries do not see the same mortality that we do. But this is going to become more frequent and we need to start to prepare.
“At 40C even healthy people will not survive.”
Britain’s current hottest recorded day is 38.7C, in Cambridge in 2019. And all five of our warmest days have been since 1990.
Dr Rob Thompson, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said: “Heatwaves are one of the weather extremes that are most easily linked to climate change which is already affecting us here in the UK.
“British heatwaves are already hotter and last longer, compared to just a few decades ago.
“The hottest day of the year in the UK is on average nearly 1C warmer now than the average in the period of the 1960s to the 1980s, and extended spells of warm weather last more than double the length.
“We can expect that extreme summer heatwaves of the type that can kill people in the UK will become a regular occurrence, hitting us on average every other summer by the middle of the century, under current trends of increasing emissions and warming.”
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Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, which advises the government, said these doomsday scenarios were not inevitable.
“What happens until 2050 is now pretty much baked in,” he said. “But what takes place in the second half of the century will largely depend on global ambition in terms of what happens to emissions.”
The Met Office said in a 2020 study that 40C days in Britain could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.
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