UK will reach projected temperatures by 2050 (Analysis)

(CNN) — Two years ago, British meteorologists conducted an interesting thought experiment: What will our forecast for 2050 be like?

The climate crisis is driving weather extremes around the world, and temperatures in northern latitudes are especially sensitive to these changes. So meteorologists at the Met Office, Britain’s official weather forecasting agency, dive into remote climate models in summer 2020 to see what temperatures will be forecast in about three decades’ time.

“Not an actual weather forecast,” said the Met Office chart. “They are examples of reasonable weather based on climate projections.”

Well, on Mondays and Tuesdays, “reasonable” will come true… 28 years earlier.

Temperatures are forecast to be 10-15 degrees warmer than usual early next week in the UK.

Simon Lee, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University in New York, noted striking similarities between the 2050 outlook and the UK’s initial forecast for next week.

“Today, forecasts for Tuesday are surprisingly nearly identical for most countries,” Simon tweeted, added in a later post that “what will happen on Tuesday provides a glimpse of the future.”

Thirty years from now, this prophecy will seem quite typical.

Temperatures are expected to be 10-15°C warmer than usual at the start of next week in the UK. Highs could approach 40C for the first time, a prediction that has prompted meteorologists to issue a hot warning “red” for the first time in history.

To be clear, this is going to be a real hot record. The highest temperature ever measured in the country was 38.7°C at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens in 2019.

It is also a clear sign of how quickly the climate crisis is changing our time.

“We hope we don’t get into this situation,” said Met Office climate change attribution scientist Nikos Christidis, it’s a statement. “Climate change has already affected the likelihood of extreme temperatures in the UK. The possibility of a record 40C day in the UK could be up to 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influences.”

The probability of exceeding 40C “is increasing rapidly,” Christidis said.

It’s been more than a few awkward days. Extreme heat is one of the deadliest weather events, it’s just that we rarely see it at that time, when heatstroke and death are linked to underlying conditions such as heart or respiratory disease.

Also, latest report they suggest that no more than 5% of UK homes have air conditioning to help keep residents cool.

Last summer we saw a very similar situation in the United States, when the Pacific Northwest was hit by days of extreme heat. Hundreds of people died in the heat wave. Officials in British Columbia said there were more than 800 “excess deaths” over the summer, deaths that were unexpected and far from the norm for that time of year.

Unlike floods or wildfires that destroy cities, the feeling of urgency around a deadly heatwave is not particularly surprising, said Kristie Ebi, a climate and health researcher at the University of Washington, noting that heat is a “silent killer”.

“If it’s hot outside, it’s hot outside, so it’s a relatively silent killer,” Ebi previously told CNN. “People are generally unaware and don’t think about the risks associated with these high temperatures.”

He also said that it is important to understand that the weather is not like it was a few years ago. The climate crisis is already affecting our lives today, and will continue to hit the most vulnerable.

“We all look forward to summer to enjoy warmer temperatures, but there are people who are at risk with these higher temperatures,” he said. “Because the climate is constantly changing or temperatures are higher than what we experienced when we were young, people need to pay more attention, especially to the people around them.”

— Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.

Stuart Martin

"Internet trailblazer. Troublemaker. Passionate alcohol lover. Beer advocate. Zombie ninja."

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