Temperatures could hit 35C in UK as heatwaves grip northern hemisphere
Climate change is ‘loading the dice towards extreme weather’ with rising global temperatures fuelling heatwaves, experts warn.
Parts of Britain could see temperatures rise to 35C (95F) as the country remains sweltering in extreme hot weather that is gripping northern Europe.
Monday saw a high of 33.3C recorded at Santon Downham in Suffolk, but it is set to get even hotter, with temperatures expected to peak on Thursday and Friday
An amber “heat health watch” warning, put out when temperatures are predicted to hit 30C (86F) during the day and 15C (59F) at night for at least two consecutive days, has been issued for parts of England.
It comes as weather extremes including record temperatures, heatwaves and drought, are being seen across the northern hemisphere in the first half of summer, hitting health and agriculture and causing dangerous wildfires.
And experts warned climate change was “loading the dice towards extreme weather,” with rising global temperatures fuelling heatwaves.
An intense heatwave hit Japan, with record highs of 41.1C in Kumagaya and 40.8C in Oume, both near Tokyo, on Monday, as the country struggles to recover from its worst flooding and landslide disasters in decades.
In Europe, a second Climate Watch advisory was issued for July 19 to August 6 covering an area from Ireland to the Baltic States and Scandinavia, with temperatures as much as 10C above average in some places in the first week.
The soaring temperatures in northern Europe are accompanied by drought and a risk of local thunderstorms, wildfires and harvest losses, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said.
Twin wildfires raging through popular seaside areas near the Greek capital Athens have torched homes, cars and forests and killed at least 49 people.
An extended heatwave in Scandinavia has seen temperatures top 30C in the Arctic Circle, and Sweden reported around 50 forest fires burning in mid July.
In Ireland heatwaves were recorded at 15 weather stations, with five or more consecutive days with temperatures above 25C, and an absolute drought at all its stations, the WMO said.
And the UK has seen the driest half of summer on record, with just 47mm (1.85 inches) between June 1 and July 16.
The Met Office said temperatures of 35C were forecast for Thursday in East Anglia and London, with the potential for the mercury to climb even higher.
A respite from the heat could come by the end of the week, when thunderstorms are expected in eastern areas.
The hottest July day on record is 36.7C (98F), which was reached at Heathrow on July 1, 2015.
The Met Office said several places have had 54 consecutive dry days, starting May 30, including a few which have had less than 1mm of rain in the entire 54-day period – the longest spell since 1969, when 70 days passed with no significant rainfall.
The longest run of days with no rain at all this summer so far is 48 days at Brooms Barn, near Bury St Edmunds, since June 5.
The prolonged warm, dry weather is caused by an area of high pressure sitting to the west of Britain, leaving the country basking under cloudless skies.
Professor Peter Stott, Met Office science fellow in attribution, said global temperature rises were fuelling heatwaves, and climate models had been predicting an increase in extremely hot spells for more than a decade.
“It’s coming true before our eyes,” he said.
And he said: “It’s quite interesting to compare the temperature anomalies with 1976.
“Back in 1976 we were having this prolonged heatwave, but much of the globe was pretty average. Now if you look at the globe, it’s pretty warm.”
He said the chances of having so many heatwaves across the globe this summer “must be really low” without climate change.
“We are loading the dice towards extreme weather,” he said.