UK gears for hottest day as study says ‘no doubt left’ on global warming

Major historical data shows current warming is unprecedented in past 2,000 years

Heat wave
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming is likely to have passed 99%, according to unprecedented research.

“Three studies published in Nature and Nature Geoscience use extensive historical data to show there has never been a period in the last 2,000 years when temperature changes have been as fast and extensive as in recent decades,” reports The Guardian.

It comes as Britain braces for the hottest day on record. The Met Office has said there is a 70% chance of temperatures beating the current record of 38.5C from August 2003. Heights of 39C are forecast in southern and eastern England later today.

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The Guardian notes that Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have all recorded their highest ever temperatures “as the second extreme heatwave in as many months to be linked by scientists to the climate emergency grips the continent”.

Clare Nullis, a World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman, told The Guardian that the current heatwaves bore the “hallmark of climate change”. The extreme events were “becoming more frequent, they’re starting earlier, and they’re becoming more intense”, she said. “It’s not a problem that’s going to go away.”

Meanwhile, the experts in Nature and Nature Geoscience say that historic events – such as the Roman Warm Period, which ran from AD 250 to AD 400, and the Little Ice Age, which saw temperatures drop for centuries from the 1300s - cannot compare with the scale of warming seen over the last century.

“That's significant,” says ABC News, “because climate change deniers have sometimes pointed to [those events] to argue that the current global warming is one among multiple similar global climate events.”

The new research concluded that the current warming rate is higher than any observed previously and that the new findings destroy the claims of climate sceptics.

“We find that the warmest period of the past two millennia occurred during the 20th Century for more than 98% of the globe,” one of their reports states. “This provides strong evidence that anthropogenic (human induced) global warming is not only unparalleled in terms of absolute temperatures but also unprecedented in spatial consistency within the context of the past 2,000 years.”

Professor Mark Maslin, from University College London, who wasn't part of the studies, says “This paper should finally stop climate change deniers claiming that the recent observed coherent global warming is part of a natural climate cycle.”

Network Rail warned of disruption in areas where tracks were at risk of buckling - with many rail firms warning passengers not to travel. Public Health England has maintained a level three heat health watch for eastern areas of England.

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