London’s burning – cities swelter as urban temperatures continue to rise
A report looking at temperatures in European cities over the last 30 years shows the mercury steadily rising in the continental thermometer - and London tops the league.
The report from the WWF looks at both the maximum temperature reached each day and the average temperature over the season and in both cases shows a rise of over 2ºC in some cities.
In London the heat from the midday sun has increased more than anywhere else, with the average high recorded on summer days soaring from 20.5ºC in 1975 to 22.5ºC now.
The already hot cities of Athens and Lisbon are not far behind, both up by 1.9ºC.
The rise in average summer temperatures recorded around the clock was most dramatic in Madrid, where it was up by a potentially scorching 2.2ºC, followed by Luxembourg at 2ºC.
By 2080 average annual temperatures across the UK could rise by 2 to 3.5ºC and by up to 5ºC in London and the South East.
The UK Department of Health predicts a 250% increase in heat-related deaths by 2050 .
The report, Europe feels the heat – Extreme weather and the power sector, highlights the increasing likelihood of intense heatwaves, drought and rainstorms and traces the links to the power industry, responsible for over a third of the world’s carbon emissions which WWF claims are fuelling the sweltering temperature rises.
Matthew Davis, director of WWF’s Stop Climate Chaos! campaign, said: “Scientists predict that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are doubling the risk of extreme heatwaves, such as the European heatwave of 2003, which resulted in the deaths of more than 40,000 Europeans.
“This report shows that European cities are heating up and if this disturbing trend continues our cities will become unpleasant places to live with higher temperatures and more chaotic weather.
“To avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, which threaten both people and wildlife, we must drastically reduce global CO2 emissions.
“And we must start here in the UK with year on year emissions reductions to deliver on our national climate targets.”
National weather presenter Sian Lloyd, who has backed WWF’s climate change campaign, said: “If you thought British summers were unpredictable, climate change has the power to make them unrecognisable with extreme weather events from floods to heatwaves and droughts becoming more frequent.”
By Sam Bond
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