The probability of anywhere in the UK hitting 40°C is likely to increase rapidly in the coming decades and become the new norm by the end of the century, according to new research.
Normally, the UK is only expected to see 40°C heat once in every 100 to 300 years. Under moderate climate change, however, this might rise to every 15 years by 2100.
The paper also stated that 40°C heat could occur every 3.5 years in a scenario of extremely high GHG emissions, as suggested by the mathematical model devised at the Met Office in the UK.
It may be mentioned here that the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK – 38.7°C – has been confirmed by the Met Office last year.
“This research shows human-caused climate change has set us on a course to see temperature extremes in the UK that would be highly unlikely under a ‘natural’ climate, although urgent action to reduce emissions now can significantly reduce the occurrence of extreme high temperatures in the UK in the future,” Co-author and head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre Dr Mark McCarthy, said.
In line with the Paris climate agreement, if the world reduces carbon emissions, then the chances of hitting these dangerous temperatures would be significantly lower, the study revealed.
The research paper has been published in the journal Nature Communications.