UK should prepare for more heatwaves and drought due to climate change, experts say

Rising temperatures and water shortages in the UK highlight the need for the Government to address the risk of climate change, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has warned.

The CCC warned the Government in their 2016 report that more action is needed to address the growing threat increased temperatures and low rainfall to health, agriculture, industry and the natural environment.

In many parts of the UK, the heatwave is intensifying this week with temperatures set to exceed the already record-breaking levels this summer.

Simultaneously, extreme weather events are also affecting large parts of the northern hemisphere, the CCC said.

Cracks in the ground on Hampstead Heath, London, as the hot weather continues across the country. Credit: PA

These hot weather is due to a displaced jet stream causing high pressure to linger over the UK.

Kathryn Brown, Head of Adaptation at the CCC, said: "We know that the risk of heatwaves and higher average temperatures is increasing as the climate changes.

"Our 2016 report showed that, without further action, the number of heat-related deaths could increase from 2,000 per year today to 7,000 in the 2050s due to climate change and population growth.

Water levels fall low at Burrator reservoir, Dartmoor, Devon, during the driest start to a summer since modern records began in 1961. Credit: PA

"Water shortages are also a concern: we can expect greater water deficits across the country, including in cooler wetter areas like the north-west of England," she added.

"Action is needed to cool our homes: new build properties need shading and improved ventilation, as do hospitals."

Temperatures have soared above 38 degrees in Japan. Credit: PA

Wildfires in Greece have killed at least 74 and hundreds are dead or missing after torrential rain caused a dam collapse in Laos.

Forest fires in Sweden are burning inside the Arctic Circle. And Japan has declared its heatwave a natural disaster, after 65 deaths.

Monthly temperature records have been broken in the UK but also in parts of Canada and the US, Central Europe North Africa and Australia.

Each of these is a weather event. Some of them are meteorologically linked - other aren’t. But they are all extremes.

Sweden experienced its worst forest fires in decades. Credit: AP

And what climate change is doing, just as scientists predicted, is push weather events further to the extreme. That extra degree of temperature, that extra inch of rainfall.

If you could step back and look at the planet right now you could not ignore the fact our climate is changing and that change is on track to intensify with every year that goes by without a net reduction in carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Nine of the warmest 10 years on record have all occurred since 2005 - 2016, 2015 and 2017 are the top three.

2018 looks like it has every chance of joining them.

It is trends like this that define a changing climate, and it’s turning out to be a devastating one.