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  • Will UK Heatwaves Become the Norm?

Will UK Heatwaves Become the Norm?

Aug 13 2018 Read 995 Times

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned the UK government that the heatwaves which have plagued the country this summer are likely to become the norm. With August expected to exceed the already record-breaking highs set in June and July, CCC says that the government must take action to mitigate the long-term effects of climate change.

This includes preparing for elevated temperatures and an increased frequency of water shortages, both of which could cause serious problems for healthcare and agricultural industries, not to mention the damage being wrought on the natural environment. CCC calls for governmental and individual action to help reduce the issues brought on by these extreme weather events.

Heatwave in the UK

Nine of the 10 hottest years since records began have occurred since 2005, with the last three taking the top podium spots. After June and July saw sky-high temperatures across the UK and with August set to outdo both, it’s highly likely that 2018 will be even warmer. The CCC predicts that the hot weather could have dire consequences for UK residents going forwards.

“We know that the risk of heatwaves and higher average temperatures is increasing as the climate changes,” explained Kathryn Brown, Head of Adaptation at the CCC. “Our 2016 report showed that, without further action, the number of heat-related deaths could increase from 2,000 per year today to 7,000 in the 2050s due to climate change and population growth.”

Problems further afield

It’s not just on British shores that things have been heating up, either. Out of control wildfires in Greece have claimed the lives of over 70 people, while even the normally temperate Sweden has seen forest fires rage inside the Arctic Circle.

Further afield, a Japanese heatwave last month killed around 65 people, prompting the government to label it a natural disaster. Torrential rain in Laos has caused a dam to collapse in the south of the country, leaving hundreds of people dead and scores more missing. Indeed, monthly temperature records have been blown out of the water all over the globe, from Australia to North Africa and Central Europe to North America.

Action needed now

With such phenomena only expected to increase in frequency and intensity, the CCC has advised immediate governmental action to reduce climatic impacts in the future. This includes high-resolution monitoring to aid with river conservation in order to mitigate the effects of drought and water shortages.

Meanwhile, building design must be rethought in order to incorporate improved ventilation, shaded areas and better temperature management. While this is important in private residences as well, it’s most crucial in public places such as schools and hospitals. Failing to take action now runs the risk of even more serious disasters in the future, says CCC.

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