Weather Presenter Kerrie Gosney explains how we're already feeling the affects of climate change right here at home but also across the globe
The Earth’s climate is constantly changing. Even without humans, the atmosphere would be slowly and continually evolving. However, this natural evolution has been overtaken by rapid man-made climate change as we continue to put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We are already feeling the effects of climate change, and here in the UK this is becoming more obvious.
Our seasons are changing and merging. Spring is becoming earlier, winters have fewer frosts and the growing seasons are extending. Latest research from the Met Office shows that the growing season for plants is now a month longer than it was before the 1990's
The leaves are remaining on the trees for longer as warmer spells during the during the Autumn delay 'leaf drop'. We're also seeing changes in the agricultural industry as crops are becoming more vulnerable to unpredictable weather patterns. This is because extreme weather events such as drought and floods are dramatically affecting the soil health, leading to the failure of crops. Meanwhile warmer wetter weather leads to the vast spread of diseases in vegetation, deeming it unusable.
Maximum temperature records are being broken more frequently and the Met Office state the UK's ten warmest years on record, have occurred since 2002.
But the impacts of climate change are not just being seen here in the UK, globally, the evidence is more staggering. The last seven years have been the hottest the planet has seen in the instrumental record.
The intensity of our rainfall is also increasing, as well as the frequency and the number of days a rainfall event lasts for. This means the risk of flash flooding, especially in our urban areas is also on the rise.
Globally, rising sea levels are already causing problems for people around the world. This is due to added water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, as well as the expansion of seawater as it warms. It is thought four in ten people around the world will be at risk of flooding if sea levels continue to rise.
As our temperatures climb, extreme heat events become more frequent and are more likely. On the 19th July 2021, the Met Office issued its first ‘Extreme Heat Warning’ as a sustained spell of hot weather affected the majority of the UK. Heatwaves are now considered the deadliest global weather hazard.
We can help, but we need to act fast. The first simple step that you can do is make climate change a part of your daily conversation.