Sunday 25th September 2016                 Change text size:

Heatwaves to become normal by 2040s, says the Met Office



Cimexus-via-flickr.

Research by the Met Office has suggested that climate change will bring wet and mild winters and dry hot summers to the UK, with dangerous heatwaves set to become more frequent across Europe over the next few decades.

According to the Met Office, the UK will have on average wetter, milder winters, like the 2013-2014 one, as well as drier and hotter summers. However, because of annual weather variability, it could also have few exceptionally cold winters and wet summers.

Professor Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, who led the study, said, “We have to continue to live with the cold events, but get used to the warm events. Some of the impacts of climate change will come to the UK from events in countries outside the UK: the world is interconnected.”

Belcher also argued that deadly heatwaves – like the one that hit Europe in 2003 leaving 20,000 people dead – would become normal over the next three decades.

Summer 2003 certainly had an influence in the UK.  At the moment, we’re able to say that by the 2040s we can expect events like 2003 to be normal”, he said.

Warmer weather will also mean more heavy rainfall, which would exacerbate the risk of flooding across the UK.

Belcher added, “Heavy rain is becoming heavier and that’s consistent with our picture of a warming world and warming atmosphere. There is evidence that in the UK we are seeing more heavy rainfall events.”

A recent report by the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation has revealed that 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have occurred in the 21st century, confirming a long warming trend.

 Further reading:

UN: 13 of 14 warmest years on record were in 21st century

2013 currently joint-seventh warmest year since records began in 1850

World on track to see temperatures increase by 3.6C

Met Office: UK has had its wettest winter on record

The Guide to Climate Change 2013


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