The UK is likely to see regular 40C summer heatwaves in a “new normal”, experts warn, as global warming hits 1.5C.
There are already signs of increasingly extreme weather, with 2020 the third-warmest, fifth-wettest and eighth-sunniest year on record.
December 2019 to February 2020 was also the fifth-warmest winter on record.
Read more: The date the heatwave could return in Wales
Data in the State Of The UK Climate 2020 report reveals the average winter temperature last year was 5.3C 1.6C higher than the 1981-2010 average, the Mirror reports.
Mike Kendon, Met Office climate scientist and the reports lead author, said: In seven out of the last 10 years, weve seen temperatures of 34C in the UK compared to seven out of the previous 50 years before that.
Our baseline of our climate is changing and what we regard as normal is changing.
Our baseline of our climate is changing, according to Met Office climate scientist Mike Kendon (Image: Adam Vaughan)
Prof Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said the world was already 1.1C to 1.2C warmer than pre-industrial temperatures.
She added: If you take that up by another 0.3C, these [heatwaves] are just going to become much more intense.
Were likely to see 40C in the UK although we have never seen those kinds of temperatures [before].
As we hit 1.5C of global warming, thats going to… become something that we see on a much more regular basis.
Rainfall has also been affected, which has in turn impacted plant growth.
The world is already 1.1C to 1.2C warmer than pre-industrial temperatures, says Prof Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society (Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
Two of the UKs three wettest days of the 47,000 on record were February 15 and October 3 of last year.
Last year the first-leaf dates for a range of British shrub and tree species were on average 10.4 days earlier than for the 1999-2019 baseline.
Dr Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, raises the possibility of species becoming out of sync with each other in the… environment.
He added that food-chain breakdowns could mean some species struggle to survive.
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