The United Kingdom experienced its highest temperature on record on Tuesday, breaking 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, after the government declared a national emergency and issued unprecedented health warnings.
“At 12:50 today, London Heathrow reported a temperature of 40.2°C,” the Met Office said.
The Met Office had earlier recorded a record-breaking temperature of 39.1 degrees Celsius (102.38 Fahrenheit) in the English village of Charlwood. Temperatures are expected to rise throughout the day, according to the forecast.
According to the Met Office, Monday night was the hottest night on record in the United Kingdom.
In response to the extreme heat, the Met Office has issued a “Red warning” for the first time. The heat wave in Britain has been linked to climate change, and it comes after a weekend of wildfires and dangerously high temperatures in France, Portugal, and Spain.
Thousands of people have been forced to flee wildfires in southern France and Spain, and the health ministries of Portugal and Spain have linked more than 1,000 deaths to the heat wave since earlier in July. According to local media, France could have its hottest day on record on Monday.
The previous hottest day on record in the United Kingdom was 38.7 degrees Celsius (101.6 F.) Temperatures in parts of the United Kingdom are expected to reach 40°C (104°F) on Tuesday.
“Nights will also be exceptionally warm, particularly in urban areas,” said Met Office Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen in a statement. “This is likely to have far-reaching consequences for people and infrastructure.” As a result, it is critical that people prepare for the heat and consider changing their routines. This level of heat can be harmful to one’s health.”
Government scientists have warned that as the world continues to experience the effects of climate change, the frequency, intensity, and duration of similar heat waves will increase in the coming century.
“We hoped we wouldn’t get to this point, but for the first time ever, we are forecasting temperatures above 40°C in the United Kingdom,” said Dr. Nikos Christidis, a climate attribution scientist at the Met Office. “Climate change has already had an impact on the likelihood of temperature extremes in the United Kingdom.” The chances of 40°C days in the UK are up to ten times higher in the current climate than in a natural climate unaffected by human influence.”
Schools are expected to remain open despite the heat. However, there are concerns that the United Kingdom’s infrastructure is unprepared to deal with such weather events. While most offices have air conditioning, only a small percentage of homes have air conditioning.
Steven Keates, a Met Office meteorologist, warned that the heat was not something to rejoice about.
“This isn’t just another heatwave,” Keates explained to The Telegraph. “This is dangerous heat, because we’re not used to it. It’s simple –our infrastructure is not geared up for weather like this.”
“Do as little as possible,” he added. “Because heat is fatiguing and we are in slightly uncharted territory.”
According to UK scientists, extreme weather events, such as heat waves, are becoming more frequent, longer, and more intense as a result of climate change.
According to Nikos Christidis, a Met Office climate attribution scientist, recent studies show that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to increase, with the most extreme temperatures hitting southeast England. According to a Met Office statement, the chances of seeing 104-degree days in the UK are up to ten times higher in the current climate than in a natural climate unaffected by human influence.