British summers could regularly see temperatures hit 40C, leading meteorologists warn

British summers are likely to regularly see temperatures of above 40C even if humanity manages to limit global warming to 1.5C, the UK’s leading meteorologists have warned.

Temperatures could still soar in British summer time, in spite of work done to counteract global warming

The UK is already seeing increasingly extreme weather, with 2020 the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest year on record – the first ever to fall into the top 10 for all three variables.

Data published in the report The State Of The UK Climate 2020 revealed the average winter temperature for last year was 5.3C – 1.6C higher than the 1981 to 2010 average.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

That makes December 2019 to February 2020 the fifth warmest winter on record, while the temperature last summer was 0.4C above average at 14.8C.

Early August 2020 saw temperatures hit 34C on six consecutive days, with five “tropical nights” where the mercury did not drop below 20C, making it one of the most significant heatwaves to affect southern England in the past 60 years.

Professor Liz Bentley, of the Royal Meteorological Society, said the world was already seeing extreme heat as a result of warming of 1.1C to 1.2C above pre-industrial levels.

“If you take that up by another 0.3C, these (heatwaves) are just going to become much more intense – we’re likely to see 40C in the UK although we have never seen those kinds of temperatures (before).”