Unless you’ve been living under an air-conditioned rock, you’ll be acutely aware it’s been swelteringly hot in London this week. While we’ve been mopping our sweaty upper lips and cursing our poorly insulated houses, central London has seen the longest period of high temperatures since the 1960s.
According to the folks at the Met Office, the heatwave we’ve just been experiencing is the first time since 1961 that temperatures of 34C and above have been recorded for six days in a row. Gulp.
Last Friday was the hottest August day since 2003, with 36.4C recorded at Heathrow and Kew Gardens. This month the capital has also seen four ‘Tropical Nights’ – that’s nights where the temperature somewhere in the UK stays at 20C or above – on August 6, 10, 11 and 12. There was also a Tropical Night on June 25, making five so far in 2020.
And this won’t be our only taste of extreme weather. The intense heat has created the ideal conditions for thunderstorms and, according to the Met Office’s Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen, ‘lightning, gusty winds and intense, heavy downpours’ could be in store, although the stormy weather seems pretty elusive at the moment.
A scientific study by the Met Office into the UK’s summer heatwave in 2018 revealed it was 30 times more likely to occur now than in 1750 because of the higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They concluded that heatwaves will become more frequent, perhaps occurring as regularly as every other year. Maybe it’s finally time to invest in one of those fancy Dyson fans, or join Extinction Rebellion’s lead and do something about our carbon footprint once and for all.