East summerMuch of the Northern Hemisphere is suffering from intense heat waves. Fires, deaths and exorbitant electricity bills are some of the consequences of something that has only just begun. Due to climate change, these extreme events have fully entered places where they are not common, such as Canada. Now, in the same way that his case caught our attention, he worries about the heat wave in UK, which has led for the first time in the history of this country to issue to the population a extreme heat warning.

It should be noted that this does not mean that you will experience the highest temperatures ever. In the first place, because the authority issuing such an alarm, its meteorological office, it is only 167 years old. And, secondly, because the parameters used to design these types of alerts have changed in the last year.

However, what will happen in the next few days in the United Kingdom is still a extreme phenomenon. So much so that it could endanger the lives of many British people, as happened with the Canadians and Americans a few weeks ago.

A crippling heat wave in the UK

During the UK heat wave, in much of Wales, as well as southern, central and western England, temperatures of up to 33ºC. This may seem like little to us in Spain, taking into account that during our own heat wave the 40ºC has been exceeded by far in many places. Even in countries as cold as Canada they reached very close to 50ºC.

The heat wave will occur mainly in Wales and the south, central and west of England

However, it is not common in the UK. Already last year it took place a similar event, which ended with the estimated death of 2,500 people for heat-related causes.

It is not a place whose inhabitants are used to the heat, so these situations can end with many victims if the pertinent warnings are not launched. Until now, these were issued by your department of Public health and they were aimed only at health workers, so that they were attentive and knew how to protect vulnerable people. The rest of the population did not receive any alert; so, in many cases, he continued to act normally. This seems to be one of the reasons why there were so many deaths last year. For this reason, with this new heat wave in the United Kingdom, different measures have been taken. For the first time, a alert in amber of extreme heat hazard.

The problem, as explained in The Conversation Chloe brimicombe, an expert scientist in Climate Change, is that the most appropriate measurements are not used.

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Specifically, it appears that the Meteorological office it is based only on temperatures, without taking into account other factors that influence heat, such as “relative humidity, wind speed or amount of sun”. Taking this only data into account, the alert is issued if it is calculated that the average heat threshold established for each region in previous summers. With this newly released protocol, the new heat wave in the United Kingdom has forced to launch that first alert; which, unfortunately, does not seem to be the last.

What should we do before a heat wave?

The public already knows that they will have to exercise caution during this heat wave in the United Kingdom.

The measures, with which we are much more familiar in other countries, go through keeping us hydrated or avoid going outside in the central hours of the day. Also for keeping places closed ventilated and, as far as possible, cold

Unfortunately, the price of electricity prevents many families from being able to use the air-conditioning everything they should. Therefore, you can choose to wet your feet with cold water or take warm showers. Neither are the sudden changes in temperature, because a very cold shower when we come from the street, at 40ºC, can cause us what is erroneously known as a digestion cut.

And finally, we must pay special attention to vulnerable people, such as pregnant women, babies or the elderly. The latter two may not be conscious when they are thirsty, so we must ensure that they drink enough water.

Consequences of climate change

On 1972, a team of scientists from MIT used a computer model to calculate the directions our planet would take as it developed economically.

50 years ago it was predicted that if measures were not taken in the 21st century we would experience a destabilization of the planet, marked by climate change and the scarcity of resources

In the, was established that so that in the 21st century we could have a “stabilized world”It would be necessary to drastically change priorities and social values. Economic growth should be accompanied by concern for the environment. If not, we would experience food shortages and a drop in human well-being. There would therefore be a collapse marked by the depletion of natural resources and climate change.

This all sounded quite apocalyptic and perhaps a bit exaggerated for that time. The problem is that current models support that their calculations could be correct. We are now fully into the 21st century and not enough measures were taken in time.

The first consequences are coming from the hand of climate change. The heat wave in the United Kingdom, as well as the United States, Canada and Spain, are good examples. But in the last decade we have also seen funerals commemorating disappeared glaciers, species extinct by the global warming or tropical diseases spread far beyond the places where they are common. That century marked by disaster has already arrived. We can try to step back, but some consequences have already fallen squarely on us.