Warning UK must brace for more drought, heat and fire

Summer was marked by sweltering heat, Drought Bushfires are the new reality in Britain climate crisis Take control of the planet, experts warned.

This summer that saw Drought declared across vast swathes of Englandraging Forest firesand temperatures Elevation above 40°Cis a glimpse of what’s to come, according to scientists and policy experts.

Heat waves and dangerously low water levels are expected to become more frequent and intense unless humanity stops emitting greenhouse gases.

says Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Research at the London School of Economics. “People have to understand that this is only going to get worse.”

Even if the world stops pumping out all greenhouse gases tomorrow, scientists warn that the harsh conditions people are experiencing around the world will not improve unless more carbon is removed from the atmosphere.

“We’re trapped,” says Hannah Kluck, professor of hydrology at the University of Reading. “It’s not going to get better; we’re now at that point where we’ve warmed up the planet.

“There’s nothing we can do about it at this point – our choice is how bad it is,” she adds. “This is the reality now.”

Heat waves are becoming more intense and frequent around the world due to climate breakdown – extreme weather caused by global warming, as a result of human activity.

This made the extreme heat I experienced UK last month at least 10 times Most likely, according to scientists. Perhaps most worrisome, scientists say temperatures in Western Europe are rising faster than climate models predict.

While it is too soon to know if or to what extent this year’s drought has been affected by the climate crisis, scientists say global warming means droughts in the UK will occur more often as temperatures rise.

Agricultural drought, which often occurs within one year and is caused by a lack of rain and increased evaporation from spring onwards, increases as summers get hotter and drier as a result of climate collapse, according to Nigel Arnell, professor of climate system sciences. at the University of Reading.

Firefighters tackle bushfires due to severe drought conditions

(Environmental Protection Agency)

Arnell explains that droughts affecting rivers and groundwater—and thus public water supplies—are also expected to increase in frequency as spring and fall temperatures rise, meaning that the soil is drier for longer, so when it rains, the chances of it occurring are less. Water seeps into groundwater or generates current flows.

Although climate scientists expect our winters to be, on average, wetter and warmer, more rain won’t necessarily make up for warmer, drier springs and autumns, he adds.

Geographical variation is also important. In southeast England, groundwater sources are generally filled with intrusion in the winter, but in other areas rivers and reservoirs can also be replenished at other times of the year.

Hotter and drier summers also create conditions for more wildfires firefighters say They thought they had more time to prepare for a change in climate.

While climate collapse doesn’t mean every year will be like 2022, extreme heat and water restrictions, which set the conditions for wildfires to spread, will become more common.

Dry grass on Parker Pieces in Cambridge


“Nothing is going to be stable about that,” Ward says. “We created an unstable world, and that’s what we have to get used to.

“This is a result of being too slow to reduce emissions, and now we are paying the price, and the price will be paid by more damage, more disruption, more damage to lives and livelihoods.”

Scientists say that in order to avoid the catastrophic consequences of global warming, the world needs to reach net zero carbon emissions – the point at which the amount of greenhouse gases that humans produce in the atmosphere equals the amount that is being eliminated.

This is done by cutting carbon emissions as close to zero as possible, and then using carbon capture and storage to offset the remaining emissions that humanity cannot stop, either through natural stores such as trees or using man-made technology.

Experts warn that summer is such a ‘new normal’


In order to reverse the damage already done, a lot of carbon must be taken out of the atmosphere.

In the meantime, to adapt to this new reality, scientists and policy experts say the UK needs to make better use of the water we have, by building new reservoirs, making better connections between reservoirs, changing the way water is extracted and getting to control leaks.

The state also needs to limit demand by not using drinking water for hosepipes and toilets, recycling water, requiring water-efficiency standards on new white goods, ensuring homes are metered, and possibly changing the way water is defined.

Agriculture will also have to adapt, by growing new crops that are more resistant to hot weather and drought conditions. Kluck says the UK could also restore wetlands to ensure water is retained in the soil during the summer.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Ward says. “If we dare our feet to get to net zero, it will only get worse — much worse.”

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