More energy in the atmosphere – as a result of human-induced global warming – is leading to bigger storms, greater flooding and more severe heatwaves, writes Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland. A new report from the Met Office looks at UK weather in 2017 and how it has been changing over recent decades. It gives a clear picture of the impact that climate change is having on temperatures and rainfall, a message very much reinforced by this year’s heatwave here and around the world. Last year was the fifth warmest on record for the UK and nine out of 10 of the warmest years in the UK have been since 2002, with the last decade nearly one degree centigrade warmer than the 1961-1990 average. The last decade has also been 11 per cent wetter than the long-term average in Scotland. This summer has continued the trend of extreme weather, with a prolonged heatwave through May, June and July. This May was both the warmest and sunniest Scotland has ever recorded and 28 June saw the hottest day ever north of the border, at least unofficially. This weather has seen crops wilting in fields, trains running at reduced speed and water shortage warnings issued, with government help needed for people whose private water supplies had run dry. The European heatwave of 2003 killed 70,000 people across the continent and this week a new report from Westminster warned that these kind of temperatures could become the new norm, endangering the lives of 7,000 elderly or ill people in the UK every year by 2050. We need stronger ambition to reduce emissions from all nations, but in Scotland we have a particular opportunity with a draft climate change bill being debated in the autumn. Politicians from all parties need to use this opportunity to ramp up action throughout the next 10 years, moving us rapidly towards a fossil-free Scotland. As the summer heat fades from memory, we need to make sure our MSPs remember the climate emergency and act upon it with the urgency required.
Scotsman 1st Aug 2018 read more »
The deadliest place on the planet for extreme future heatwaves will be the north China plain, one of the most densely populated regions in the world and the most important food-producing area in the huge nation. New scientific research shows that humid heatwaves that kill even healthy people within hours will strike the area repeatedly towards the end of the century thanks to climate change, unless there are heavy cuts in carbon emissions.
Guardian 31st July 2018 read more »
Vast swathes of China could be left uninhabitable towards the end of the century due to heatwaves scorching the region, according to new research. As carbon emissions soar and farmland expands across the fertile North China Plain, this area could soon see the biggest climate change-induced loss of human life on Earth, says the study by the team at America’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their research suggested that human activity will make deadly heatwaves across the region far more likely in the coming years and leave farming there impossible.
Independent 31st July 2018 read more »
Extreme weather is on the rise, with the UK hotter and wetter than it has been for decades. According to the latest figures from the Met Office, 2017 was the fifth hottest year on record – and nine of the 10 hottest years over the past century have taken place since 2002. The average temperature for the past decade was 0.8C higher than the 30-year period ending in 1990. Despite the recent drought – which was not included in the new analysis – UK summers have also been getting wetter, with a 20 per cent increase in rainfall compared to that baseline period. “Our climate is changing, globally and here in the UK. People may not recall 2017 as having been a particularly warm year, with a relatively wet summer and snow in December,” said Dr Mark McCarthy, manager of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre. “Despite this, when looking at the longer-term perspective 2017 was still more than 1C above the 1961-1990 baseline and ranks fifth warmest year overall for the UK.” Overall, the decade saw eight per cent more rainfall and six per cent more sunshine, showing that weather at both ends of the spectrum is getting more extreme.
Independent 31st July 2018 read more »
Carbon Brief 31st July 2018 read more »