London, Europe Brief News – The record temperatures in the UK last week would have been “almost impossible” without human-induced climate change, leading scientists have concluded.
The UK recorded temperatures above 40C for the first time on 19 July.
Without human-caused climate change these would have been 2C to 4C cooler, the experts say.
It is a taste of what is to come, they say, with more heatwaves, fires and droughts predicted in coming years.
The extreme heat caused significant disruption to the UK, with experts warning that excess deaths related to temperatures will be high. Wildfires also destroyed homes and nature in some places.
The world has warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial revolution about 200 years ago. Greenhouse gases have been pumped into the atmosphere by activities like burning fuels, which have heated up the Earth’s atmosphere.
The findings are released by the World Weather Attribution group – a collection of leading climate scientists who meet after an extreme weather event to determine whether climate change made it more likely.
They looked at three individual weather stations that recorded very high temperatures – Cranwell, Lincolnshire, St James Park in London, and Durham.
Dr Friederike Otto of Imperial College London, who leads the World Weather Attribution group, told BBC News that even in today’s climate, having such temperatures was still rare and that we would expect them between once every 500 years and once every 1,500 years.
But she said that as global temperatures rose, the likelihood of this heat happening more regularly would increase.