UK temperatures increasingly likely to exceed 40C

Temperatures in Britain could exceed 40 degrees Celsius every three or four years by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, according to the Meteorological Office.

The new modelling study by Britain’s Meteorological Office found that emissions are dramatically increasing the likelihood of extremely warm days in the UK, particularly in the southeast, writes an article on AFP. Last year the highest ever UK temperature, 38.7C, was recorded in the eastern city of Cambridge.

If the present high rates of greenhouse gas emissions continue, these temperature extremes could occur every three to four years by 2100, the study warned. Even under a mid-range emissions scenario, they could still happen around every 15 years.

Without climate change, temperatures would be expected to rise above 40 degrees Celsius only once in hundreds or thousands of years, writes AFP.

“Exceeding extreme temperature thresholds like the 40C in the UK would be accompanied by severe impacts— on public health, transport infrastructure,” Lead author Nikolaos Christidis told AFP. “Our paper shows that the likelihood of hitting 40C is rapidly increasing,” Christidis continued.

The researchers ran simulations using 16 climate models available from the Earth System Grid Federation to estimate the likelihood of extreme temperatures in a given location.

Globally, the Earth’s average surface temperature for the 12 months to May 2020 is close to 1.3 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the benchmark by which global warming is usually measured, according to recent data from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, says AFP.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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