You thought it was hot now! Experts predict UK weather in 2080

  • Researchers reveal ‘deadly risk’ of summer heatwaves in 2080s
  • London will hit 105°F (41°C) at least once a week during summers
  • It will likely be hotter than the 2003 European heatwave that killed 14,000 people in Paris

Britain is in the midst of the first unbearably hot spell of the year, but this could be just a taste of what’s to come in a few decades.

Scientists predict that temperatures across the UK in 2080 will be high enough to trigger “large-scale mortality”, much like the European heatwave of 2003.

In a single summer week in 2080, temperatures will reach 105°F (41°C) in London, while weekly averages will be 82°F (28°C) across large parts of southern England.

This compares to London’s maximum summer temperatures of 87°F (31°C) and southern England’s weekly averages of 68°F (20°C) in the 1970s.

Manchester, meanwhile, will exceed 100°F (38°C) at least once a week during a 2080s summer, and Plymouth and Glasgow will likely hit 95°F (35°C) a week.

The study predicts maximum summer temperatures of 41°C in London and weekly averages of 28°C across large parts of southern England. This compares to 31°C and 20°C in the 1970s. The image shows UK daily maximum temperatures for the 1970s (left) and projections for the 2080s (right)
Temperature projections for London, Plymouth, Manchester and Glasgow during an “example of an extreme week” in 2080, likely a summer heat wave. Temperatures for 2080 are shown by the red line in each graph, along with other past and present decades in other colors

Last year, the UK set a new temperature record of 104.5°F (40.3°C) – but several regions will surpass this figure every week by 2080, according to forecasts.

Maximum summer temperatures in the 2080s

London: 105°F (41°C)

Manchester: 100°F (38°C)

Plymouth: 96°F (36°C)

Glasgow: 95°F (35°C)

Temperatures in the biggest cities (namely London) tend to be warmer than the rest of the UK – and will continue to be so into the 2080s – due to densely populated buildings and more concrete and tarmac that absorb heat more quickly.

The new study was led by Professor David Coley of the University of Bath, who points out that it is in extreme weather, not average climate, that the greatest risk of climate change lies.

‘Climate change is normally discussed in terms of seasonal averages, because that is what is meant by the word climate,’ said Professor Coley of Bath’s Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

“I think this is a possible mistake, because few of us naturally understand how even small differences in climate imply wildly different worlds.”

The team cites the European heat wave of 2003, which killed 14,000 people in Paris alone – showing the dangers of extreme temperatures rather than average temperatures.

In the past 20 years alone, there has been a 54% increase in heat-related mortality among people over 65, with a total of 296,000 deaths in 2018 alone.

“It is such heat and cold spells, and a lack of preparation for them, that will kill more and more people,” Professor Coley said.

“We need to think about climate change in terms of the changing weather.”

UK annual average temperatures by 2080, as predicted by researchers
Maximum temperature for a typical summer day in 2080
Britain is going through the first spell of unbearably hot weather of the year, following record high temperatures set in 2022. Pictured, London on Tuesday

For their study, Professor Coley and his colleagues produced a series of detailed weather projections for 11,326 locations in the UK at 3 square mile intervals for the year 2080.

READ MORE: One of the next five years could be the hottest on RECORD, experts warn

Pictured are scorching temperatures in Wimbledon, south London, in 2022

Using weather generation software and a newly developed algorithm, the team relied on Met Office climate forecasts to create the projections.

After entering the climate forecast data into the software, the weather generator produced 3,000 examples of possible weather forecasts for 2080.

By then researching heat waves and looking at how they change over time, they found that there will be heat waves similar in shape to the 2003 Paris event.

However, these future heat waves will be “with even higher temperatures”, suggesting the likelihood of “large-scale mortality”.

The authors say climate change has the potential to undermine many public health gains over the past 50 years, which will “exacerbate existing inequalities”.

Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions, will be disproportionately affected, experts say.

“Exposure to high temperatures impacts individuals through a variety of pathways, from heat stress and heat stroke to exacerbations of respiratory and cardiovascular disease,” they write.

Photo of the 2003 Paris heat wave, which researchers say killed 14,000 people in the city
Hundreds of people soak up the sun on Brighton beach during the 2003 European heatwave
Graphical summary of the study. London’s 2080s heatwaves ‘indicated deadly risk’

Additionally, the UK is ill-prepared for temperature increases, not just in terms of buildings and infrastructure, which are not heat resistant enough.

“There are no temperature records of the internal conditions in the buildings in which the 14,000 deaths occurred in Paris in 2003,” the team says.

“The forecast situation in London is similar to that found in Paris, but with a higher temperature peak in London and a considerably higher night temperature in London.

“It would therefore not be unreasonable to conclude that in the future the UK can expect events with morals of a similar number to that suffered by Paris.”

Weather files containing extreme weeks for 11,326 locations were prepared by the academics and posted online, while the study was published in the journal Building and Environment.

Deadly temperatures above 100F will be up to TEN TIMES more common in Britain by the end of the century, study warns

Life-threatening temperatures above 100F will be up to 10 times more common in Britain by the end of the century, a study has found.

The researchers looked at future climate projections to see how global exposure to “hazardous environments” will increase in the coming decades.

By 2100, a “dangerous” temperature of 39.4°C (103°F) will be three to ten times more common by 2100 in mid-latitude countries like the UK and the US.

More than half of the year “will be a challenge to work outdoors” in countries along the equator due to scorching weather by 2100, although “deadly” heat waves may also occur every year in mid-latitude countries.

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