Over 40°C in the UK is “extremely unlikely” with no emissions: record heat is our fault
The researchers determined that climate change made the extreme heat that hit the UK in recent days 10 times more likely.
Since tracking temperature globally, for the first time, the mercury has reached and exceeded 40°C in the United Kingdom in child event of an extreme heat wave that has hit Europe in recent weeks. The phenomenon occurred exactly on Tuesday, July 19 when the monitoring station of Coningsby (Lincolnshire) recorded 40,3°C.
The record shattered the previous maximum temperature record of 38.7°C, reached in 2019. The temperatures of the past few days have been so anomalous for the UK that the National Health Security Agency has issued a warning of level 4 health risk, moreover, decidedly unusual measures have been taken for a notoriously rainy country.
Among them is the request for rationing water in the southern part of England and the stop or the slowdown of trains due to the risk of deformation of the tracks due to the heat. Scientists have now determined that without the contribution of man in catalyzing climate change, through greenhouse gas emissions these extreme temperatures in the UK would have been very unlikely.
First of all, it must be emphasized that the extreme heat wave that is sweeping Europe is caused by the African anticyclone coming from the South, which for some decades has supplanted the anticyclone of the Azores that normally cheered our summers.
According to experts, this change is due to both processes natural such as the weakening of the jet streams, both alterations induced into global atmospheric circulation due to emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and other greenhouse gases linked to anthropogenic activities.
It is no coincidence that only a few days ago Dr. Steven Pawson, who heads the authoritative Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, declared that the heat wave we are experiencing “is another clear indicator that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing extreme weather conditions that impact our living conditions ”.
Put simply, global warming is fueling the risk and the frequency of heat waves “iperestreme“(Like that of 2003); the record temperature recorded in the UK is only one of its consequences.
Researchers from the British Met Office and other research organizations in the United States, South Africa, France, Germany, and other countries, using sophisticated climate models, have shown that what occurred on July 19 in Coningsby would have been very unlikely if the man had not altered the climate with CO2 emissions.
Scientists first pointed out that even in the context of recurrent heat waves in Europe, what occurred in the UK is still an anomaly. a rarity in today’s climate. It is estimated that in the current climatic conditions the average temperatures observed on 18 and 19 July in the UK have a frequency of approximately 1 every 100 years while the maximum even of 1 every 1000 years (these are very uncertain estimates, explain the scientists).
“At three individual stations, 1-day maximum temperatures are as rare as 1 every 500 years in St James’s Park in London, about 1 every 1000 years in Durham, and expected on average only once every 1500 years in today’s climate in Cranwell, Lincolnshire. ”, Explain worldweatherattribution.org experts.
From the mathematical models it emerged that with a colder average temperature of 1.2°C, similar to that recorded in the pre-industrial era, a heat wave as extreme as the one that hit the UK would have been far more unlikely. Moreover, during the pre-industrial era, it would have been 4°C cooler, the experts specify.
After combining the data observational with those of climate models researchers determined that man-made global warming “made the event at least 10 times more likely“. “In the models – the experts add – the same event would be about 2°C cooler in a world colder than 1.2°C, which is a much smaller variation in intensity than that observed”.
Scientists underline that heat waves represent a serious risk to people’s health and are a phenomenon aggravated not only by climate change but also by other factors such as “the aging of the population, urbanization, change in social structures and levels of preparation “. If we do nothing to contain climate change, by sharply and rapidly cutting emissions of carbon in the future these extreme events will be increasingly frequent and dramatic.