Threshold may be lower if the island country’s emissions are reigned in
The United Kingdom can see temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celsius (°C) every third or fourth year by the end of the century if emissions are not curbed, the country’s weather department said.
The highest temperature recorded in the UK was 38.7°C at Cambridge in July 2019, something that raised the question of whether exceeding the 40°C threshold was within the possibilities for UK’s climate.
A recent UK Met office study — published in journal Nature Communications June 30, 2020 — suggested that if emissions were reduced in line with the Paris climate agreement, future probabilities were lower.
The return time for the 40°C threshold would reduce to 15 years by 2100 in a medium emissions scenario, the study 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,” said the study’s lead author Nikolas Christidis.
“The chances of seeing 40°C 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,” Christidis added.
Most of the extreme temperatures were expected to be observed in the southeast of England, according to Christidis.
Temperatures above 35°C were increasingly becoming the norm in this region, the study said.
“Analysis shows that in some parts of the southeast between 1960 and 2019, the hottest days of the year have already increased by 1°C each decade,” said Mark McCarthy, co-author and head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre.
By 2100, several areas in the island country’s north — where 30°C days are rare — may pass this threshold at least once per decade, the study pointed out.
The world has seen an increase in extreme weather events in recent years. It was widely reported that Russia’s Siberia region (near
the Arctic Circle) recorded its maximum temperature in June 2020.
Climate emergencies were declared by many countries across the world in 2019 due to heatwaves and wildfires. Lower-latitude regions like South Asia, on the other hand, have faced an increase in cyclones.
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