It’s the Hottest Day Ever in the UK

And it's only going to get warmer – scientists say the chances of 40 degrees Celsius days in the UK could be 10 times more likely due to the climate crisis.
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A student dips their head in the fountain at Trafalgar Square in London on Thursday the 19th of July. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The UK has recorded its highest ever temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius (or 104.36 Fahrenheit) according to provisional results – and it’s only going to get hotter.

The record-breaking temperature was provisionally recorded at London’s Heathrow Airport at 12:50PM. If confirmed, it would be the highest ever temperature recorded in the UK, beating the existing record of 38.7 degrees Celsius from July 2019. It is also the first time ever that a temperature in excess of 40 degrees Celsius has been recorded in the UK.

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It’s unlikely to remain the record temperature for long though – with conditions set to get hotter throughout the day. “Temperatures are likely to rise further through today,” said the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service.

This week the Met Office issued its first-ever “red warning” for extreme heat across much of England, with temperatures forecast to exceed 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, while Network Rail issued a “do not travel warning.”

The warnings come as wildfires rage in other parts of Western Europe due to the extreme heat, including in France, Spain and Portugal.

While it’s difficult to tie individual weather patterns to the climate crisis, scientists say extreme weather events such as these heatwaves are increasing in frequency and intensity due to global warming.

“Climate change has already influenced the likelihood of temperature extremes in the UK,” said Dr Nikos Christidis, Climate attribution scientist at the Met Office.

“The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence.”