Top weather forecaster blames climate change for 'astounding' UK heatwave

Met Office chief meteorologist says Saharan conditions in Britain will likely become commonplace by the end of the century

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Britain's top forecaster on Monday warned that the UK heatwave predicted to see temperatures in London exceed those in the Sahara is down to climate change and will likely become a commonplace phenomenon by the end of the century.

Chief meteorologist at the Met Office Paul Davies told Sky News the weather charts he had seen on Monday were unlike any he had observed in his 30-year career.

“This is entirely consistent with climate change. To get 40°C in the UK we need that additional boost from human-induced climate,” he said.

“The speed at which we are seeing these exceptionally high temperatures is broadly in line with what we were saying but to be honest, as a meteorologist, to see the brutality of the heat we're expecting tomorrow, is quite astounding.”

“And it does worry me a lot and my colleagues here at the Met Office that this sort of unprecedented heat could become a regular occurrence by the end of the century.”

Such is the extremity of the UK heatwave, Mr Davies said even his even colleagues in hot countries like Spain and Portugal had described the scenes in the UK as “exceptional”.

He said a “plume” of heat pushing across Europe was affecting Britain differently.

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“I was talking to my colleagues in Spain, Portugal and France at the weekend and they described this heat as exceptional too, and they've seen and observed amazing temperatures and, as I say, the brutality of that impact.

“In terms of the UK, the heat which has been affecting Spain, Portugal and France is different towards us. So, it's the activity of that plume, and also us generating our own heat that's causing the particular problems for [Tuesday].”

Mr Davies said he was “really concerned” about the health implications for Tuesday when he said there's a “good chance” temperatures will hit 40°C or 41°C.

UK record temperature

38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019

Further summer UK heatwave not ruled out

He said temperatures will ease from next Wednesday onwards but warned another heatwave later in summer could not be ruled out.

“When we look to the future in terms of the next week, there is an easier time because in fact the temperatures start to ease back to what we describe as slightly above normal from about Wednesday onwards,” Mr Davies said.

“But as we move into all this, you just can't rule out another plume.”

He added that holidaymakers should also check the weather overseas because the heat is likely to be “pretty intense” over the course of the month.

Watch: UK heatwave threatens record temperature

Updated: July 18, 2022, 1:09 PM
UK record temperature

38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019

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