The UK has witnessed significantly hot weather followed by heavy downpours yet again. Find out why these extreme events are becoming more frequent.
The glorious Bank Holiday in May saw high temperatures across the country which set the scene for a long weekend of sunbathing, barbeques and trips to the seaside. As usual though, it was over almost as soon as it had begun. Flash flooding and heavy downpours followed the sunshine and Brits were left miserable and dressed in their winter coats once again at the beginning of June.
The Rise Of Extreme Weather
Unfortunately, this is not an atypical situation for those living in the UK. We have become accustomed to extreme heatwaves and rain storms and this is largely due to the fact that they are statistically on the increase. Recent research by the Nature Climate Change study uses a typical background climate temperature depending on the area of the country that is measured. It then notes the frequency with which a significant temperature increase occurred at various points throughout the year.
The results of the study suggest that extreme heat events that would normally occur approximately every 1,000 days are now happening at a rate of four or five times more frequently than this. In the south-east of the UK for instance, a high temperature of 33.2C is being reached, on average, every 200 days. This increased regularity is due to manmade climate change.
Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, global temperatures have risen by an average of 0.85C due to power plants, factories and cars pumping out greenhouse gases. These cause pollution and damage the environment. When heatwaves occur as a result of this manmade activity, excess water is evaporated from the oceans which subsequently creates long durations of precipitation. The current research estimates that any given place on Earth is now 60% more likely to experience extreme rain events and 27 significantly hot days per year.
As we witnessed in parts of Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire over the Christmas period in 2015, floods cause devastating loss to homeowners and business owners.
However, going forward it is important that residents across the country invest in preventative maintenance of their own drainage systems. When drains are in good working order, they will decrease the amount of water that is left at surface level.
The threat of floods is not going to go away, but there are various measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of damage. Flood barriers can be installed, whilst doors and windows can be replaced with water resistant alternatives.
Although countries are dedicated to reducing their own carbon emissions and keeping on top of climate change, extreme heatwaves and torrential downpours are still likely to remain the norm and sadly will probably increase. Therefore, it is essential that all residents in the UK look at what they can do to protect themselves and their property or businesses from damage.
Fraser Ruthven is the Marketing Associate for London Drainage Facilities, one of London’s leading drainage companies. London Drainage provides a wide range of drainage diagnostic and repair services in and around London.