When the temperatures started rising this summer, we were all pretty pleased. We could pop down to the coast on the weekend, fire up our tiny garden barbeques and frolic about with the deer in Richmond Park until our happy little hearts were content.
But after a while those lovely warm feelings started to turn real ugly and real sweaty. The pit stains began to expand, the commutes on the hellish central line became less and less tolerable and we all contemplated knocking up our own handmade Dyson fans in a desperate bid to stay cool.
On a more serious note, extreme wildfires in Greece and Sweden also had devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods.
Now, if a new environmental study is to be believed, such summer heatwaves could become a very commonplace occurrence over the next four years as the planet’s natural warming is reinforced by man-made climate change.
According to a study in the journal Nature Communications, a new global forecasting system has predicted that we could see much higher temperatures between 2018 and 2022 – and possibly even longer.
Scientists Florian Sévellec and Sybren S. Drijfhout wrote: “For 2018–2022, the probabilistic forecast indicates a warmer than normal period, with respect to the forced trend. This will temporarily reinforce the long-term global warming trend. The coming warm period is associated with an increased likelihood of intense to extreme temperatures.”
Essentially, it is argued that from 1998 to 2010 global temperatures were offset by the earth’s natural cooling (because of the weather and ocean patterns) but for the next four years the planet’s natural warming will be boosted by human-induced climate change.
All this means that heatwaves, forest fires, droughts, floods and hurricanes could become more common across the globe.
Dr Florian Sévellec told ShortList he’s currently working on a programme which will provide a more detailed picture of how the warming climate will affect different parts of the world – including the UK.
“Our predictive system can only predict the global average (averages all over the surface of the Earth). This is one limitation of our prediction system and we’re currently working on the development of a regional version,” he said.
“Wildfires, floods, hurricanes and droughts are devastating lives”
We’ve known about this problem for a real long time now and David Attenborough’s been banging on about it non-stop, so when our cities are flooded and we’re left sweating our brains out over the next few years, quite frankly, we’ve got no-one to blame but ourselves.