Is it weather or climate change as the heatwave finally starts to relent?

Pressure has rampued up on authorities to tackle climate change. Picture: ELLA WILKINSON

Pressure has rampued up on authorities to tackle climate change. Picture: ELLA WILKINSON - Credit: Archant

Do this week’s near-record temperatures, coming after last year’s prolonged heatwave, really tell us that Climate Change is happening across the world?

On Thursday temperatures in this region reached more than 38C - the highest ever recorded in the UK in July - as a plume of air blew across Europe from North Africa.

However the high temperature should be seen as a simple phenomenon rather than as a sign of immediate climate change said Adam Dury from Norwich-based forecasters Weatherquest.

Friday was not so hot, and the heatwave is expected to disappear over the weekend with thundery showers and other rain set to move in from the west.

However experts do believe that the frequency of what were once considered "freak" weather events may be a sign that climate change really is happening.

The School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich is one of the leading climatic research centres in the country.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré from the School said: "Climate change has already greatly increased the frequency of severe heat waves over much of the globe.

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"Human activities have caused global warming of one degree Celsius so far, and this background warming has increased the risks of heat waves around the world.

"Studies that have separated the role of human-caused climate change from natural cycles show that the risk of heat waves has more than doubled due to climate change so far in large parts of the world.

"With global temperatures warming further from human activities, heat waves will become hotter, longer, and occur more often.

"Limiting climate change to well below two degrees Celsius would considerably reduce the changes in heat waves. Nevertheless, the changes observed so far will persist for centuries."

The 20 hottest years ever recorded on earth have all been recorded in the last 22 years - and scientists believe that this month could prove to be the hottest ever recorded on the planet globally, surpassing the record of July 2017.

As well as in Europe, there have been heatwaves in North America and earlier in the year there were very high temperatures recorded in Australia.

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