UK weather turmoil spurs calls to adapt to climate change


LONDON – The UK’s record heatwave has prompted the government to call on it to speed up efforts to adapt to a changing climate, especially after bushfires created the busiest day for London’s fire brigade. since bombs fell on the city during World War II.

The country took a break Wednesday from the hot, dry weather that is blanketing much of Europe as cooler air moves in from the West. Forecasters expect London to hit a peak of 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, down from a peak of 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. The national record of 40.3 C (104.4 F) was set on Tuesday at Coningsby in eastern England.

Even so, travel was disrupted for a third day as rail operators repaired heat damage, and firefighters continued to clear hot spots at the scene of the fire. on Tuesday.

Professor Stephen Belcher, chief scientist at the Met Office, the UK’s national weather agency, said Britain needed to prepare for similar heatwaves in the future as man-made carbon emissions have altered climate change. He said: “Only active emission reduction can reduce the frequency of such events.

“Things are still to play, but we should adapt to the kind of event that we saw yesterday as an infrequent extreme event,” Baker told the BBC.

Climate scientists have been amazed at the rate at which temperatures have risen in the UK in recent years and the large area affected by this week’s event. Thirty-four locations around the UK on Tuesday broke the country’s previous record high of 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 F), set in 2019.

The weather covers a country where very few homes, schools or small businesses have air conditioning and infrastructure like railways, highways and airports are not designed to cope with such temperatures. Thirteen people, including seven teenage boys, are believed to have died trying to cool off after struggling in rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

Cabinet Office Secretary Kit Malthouse told the House of Commons there were 15 fire agencies that declared major incidents when more than 60 properties across the country were destroyed on Tuesday.

One of the biggest fires was in Wennington, a village in the east London suburbs, where a row of houses was consumed by flames running through nearby parched fields. Resident Tim Stock said he and his wife fled after the house next door caught fire and the flames quickly spread.

“It’s like a war zone,” he said. “On the actual main road, all the windows have blown up, all the roofs are closed, it’s like a scene from the Blitz.”

London Fire Brigade received 2,600 calls on Tuesday, up from the normal number of around 350, Mayor Sadiq Khan said, adding that it was the department’s busiest day since World second war. Despite lower temperatures on Wednesday, fire risk remains high as hot dry weather has parched grasslands around the city, Khan said.

“Once it catches on fire, it spreads incredibly quickly, like the wildfires you see in the movies or the fires in California or in parts of France,” Khan told the BBC. .

Phil Gerigan, resiliency team leader for the National Fire Command Council, said wildfires are an emerging threat tied to climate change that is stretching the capacity of fire departments. He told the BBC it may be necessary to expand the capacity to fight wildfires, adding more tankers and helicopters in the air.

“As we look to the future, that is certainly something the UK government and fire and rescue services need to consider,” he said. “Do we already have the capacity, the assets, to be able to meet the significant emerging demand?”

Wildfires continue to spread havoc in other parts of Europe. Nearly 500 firefighters have struggled to contain a massive wildfire that threatens hillside suburbs outside Athens for a Monday as flames burned across the southern part of the continent.

The respite from the intense heat has helped improve conditions in France, Spain and Portugal, countries that have faced heat for days.

Britain’s travel network was also affected by the hot weather, with Luton airport briefly closed due to heat damaged runways and trains forced to run at reduced speeds over concerns. the heat will warp the rails or disrupt the power supply.

Some disruption continued on Wednesday as crews worked to repair power lines and signaling equipment damaged by the fire. Passengers are advised to check before departure and only travel when necessary.

Among those struggling is Lee Ball, 46, who is trying to travel with his wife, Libby and 10-year-old daughter, Amelie, from Worcestershire to London to Brussels for an Ed Sheeran concert. Their train was canceled with less than 30 minutes’ notice, so they drove to another station – and waited.

“I’ve been up since 4:30 a.m., anxious, trying to find answers from wherever we could,” he said.

Communication from the train companies had been “appalling”, he said.

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