Heatwave brings a climate warning
Readers will have been enjoying the recent heatwave on the beach, in the parks or in their garden.
But Midlands environment expert Ron Fox said that although the sun was very welcome it also brought with it a climate warning.
Last Thursday Britain experienced its hottest ever July day with temperatures hitting 38.1 C, the UK’s second highest figure since records began. And it is not only in our country, but also in Europe with new temperature highs in Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands.
“If it was a one-off figure that is not too worrying,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park. “But the problem is that heatwaves are becoming more common and the Met Office predicts they could happen on average every two years by the middle of this century.”
Another worrying sign is that wildfires are raging in unprecedented numbers inside the Arctic Circle with 100 intense fires there in the last couple of months.
Experts say temperatures there have been increasing faster than the global average, so increasing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and adding to air pollution.
Also matter from the fires is falling on the ice causing it to darken and leading to sunlight being absorbed rather than reflected which could exacerbate global warming.
In reply to climate sceptics the experts accept that there have been times in Britain’s past when the country had extremes of temperatures.
In medieval times the UK enjoyed heatwaves and the country had a thriving wine industry.
At the other end of the temperature gauge the River Thames has frozen over 23 times between the 14th and 19th centuries.
But scientists point out that these climate extremes were localised whereas today’s record temperatures are found everywhere.
“The problem,” said Ron, “is that climate change is gradually raising global sea levels and increasing temperatures are melting the world’s glaciers, the effects of which won’t be noticed until it is too late.
He accepted that the world had become used to dealing with heatwaves with fewer people dying because of health warnings, better distribution of water, cars banned from some city centres and even painting roofs with white paint to cool temperatures.”
Ron added: “This is all good news but on their own these moves are not enough. To bring down rising world temperatures Governments and businesses must decarbonise the entire economy and re-carbonise our soils and ecosystems as soon as possible.”
This mean moving away from fossil fuels to green energy and renewable technologies and capturing waste carbon dioxide to store it so it won’t enter the atmosphere.
It also means planting more forests to absorb the CO2 and adopting a environmentally friendly approach to food and farming by improving the water cycle and increasing the topsoil to produce better yields.
“Householders must also go green,” he added, “by moving to solar panels for electricity, solar assisted heat pumps for hot water and insulating their homes with spray foam to cut heat loss and reduce bills.”
For more information contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.