Human-caused climate change could lead to regular 40°C days in the UK by 2100 – the sort of heat usually found during summers in the Sahara Desert.
The Met Office research, which was published in scientific journal Nature on June 30, said the UK currently exceeds 40°C once every 100 to 300 years.
But, the authors explained, “without mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, this can decrease to 3.5 years by 2100.”
“Human influence is increasing the likelihood of exceeding 30, 35, and 40°C locally.”
– Met Office researchers
The scientists also found that the UK could reach 35°C every year come 2100, instead of every five years as it does now.
How hot is 40°C?
Currently, it’s a temperature mainly reserved for countries south of the equator.
There have been examples of the mercury rising above 40°C in China, while some areas of the US regularly experience this level of heat.
As the 21st century progresses, more and more countries will unwillingly join this club.
How does this affect you?
Extreme temperatures can have an adverse effect on humans, animals, and wildlife, leading to more deaths and illness.
Harvard researchers have found that in times of extremely high temperatures, mortality rates go up by 5.74%.
Because climate change-fuelled heat rises occur because of air pollution, higher temperatures also mean more harmful gases in the air you breathe.
A study by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson showed that for every degree the temperature rose because of climate change, the US suffered an extra 1,000 annual deaths.
In July 2019, Cambridge recorded the UK’s highest-ever temperature of 38.7°C. The following days saw a spike in deaths that numbered in the hundreds.
It’s clear that if we don’t reduce emissions, mortality rates will rise.