Map of atmospheric pressure over Europe, depicted as the average 500mb geopotential height anomaly relative to 1981-2020 for 7-12 August. Credit: NOAA/ESRL Physical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder Colorado.

During this summer of 2020, an area of persistent high pressure over the United Kingdom and north-west Europe blocked the arrival of cooler conditions causing an exceptional rise in temperatures.

34ยบC has been recorded in the UK during 7 out of the last 10 years, compared to 7 out of the previous 50 years from 1961 to 2010. This suggests that temperatures of 34ยบC or higher occurring at some point during the summer are becoming a more common occurrence.

August 2020 also saw five nights during which, somewhere in the UK, the night-time temperature remained above 20ยบC, making them โ€˜tropical nightsโ€™.

The impacts of weather events like this can be severe and wide-ranging.

Most Belgian provinces were placed under a heatwave warning, a measure also taken in the southern Netherlands. In France, รŽle-de-France, Hauts-de-France and Haute-Normandie were the worst affected areas, with Boulogne-sur-Mer setting a new all-time temperature record of 37.9ยบC and a new night-time record of 25.2ยบC.

This all comes months after a major heatwave in Siberia which studies have suggested was made 600 times more likely by climate change.

The latest Met Office State of the UK Climate report stated that all the Top 10 warmest years in the UK since 1884 have occurred since 2002, while the Central England Temperature series provides evidence that the 21st century so far has, overall, been warmer than the previous three centuries.

To learn more about this subject, explore the โ€˜UNSEENโ€™ approach:

Credits :

This page is a summary created by an AI algorithm and manually edited. Read the original article published on โžš written by Alexander Askew and Ayesha Tandon, climate-science communicators in the Met Office knowledge integration team.

Poster image โžš
A girl walks through a London park (Clapham) during heatwave on 8 July 2018. Photo by Mark Ramsay - Creative Common licence