Shocking satellite images of the UK taken one year apart show how devastating the heatwave has been.
Following the Met Office’s rare red extreme heat warning earlier this week, temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius for the first time ever.
Although the heat is beginning to subside, the country is still dealing with the aftermath. Wildfires ripped through homes across England, destroying the local landscape.
To demonstrate the extent of the damage, BBC Weather presenter and meteorologist Dan Holley took to Twitter and shared side-by-side images of the UK in July 2021 and July 2022:
As you can see, the left image depicts a much greener, healthier-looking landscape, whereas the right image depicts a much paler and drier-looking UK.
Although the satellite images appear to paint a troubling picture, Holley explained that there are some factors to consider.
When a commenter pointed out that the sea appears to be a slightly different colour in each image, he responded, “I suspect that may be partly due to the time of day each image is taken (satellite passes may not be at the same time of day, and thus the sun may be at a different position, etc.).”
“I would imagine any impacts from sun (glint etc) are more pronounced on water than land,” he added in a separate tweet.
“There may also be some ocean/marine reasons for the differences – but that is outside of my area of interest.”
Even with these considerations, there’s no denying the stark difference between the land in each image, which has only fueled people’s fears about climate change.
“Not such a green and pleasant land anymore,” one observes. “More like a parched brown one.”
“Wow,” said another. Scary. The problem is that when it does break properly, we will likely go from arid desert-like dryness to severe flooding.”
“And the government believes we can wait another three decades!” said a third.
Many people also brought up the infamous 1976 heatwave, which has been a major topic of discussion in recent days.
While some claimed that the recent heatwave was no worse than it was nearly five decades ago, others were on hand to demonstrate how much the climate has changed since then:
Dr. Nikos Christidis, a Met Office climate attribution scientist, added to the discussion by saying: “Temperature extremes have already been influenced by climate change in the United Kingdom.
“The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK are up to ten times higher in the current climate than in a natural climate unaffected by human influence.
“The likelihood of exceeding 40 degrees Celsius anywhere in the UK in a given year has also been rapidly increasing, and such extremes could occur every 15 years in the climate of 2100, even with current pledges on emissions reductions.”
Featured Image Credit: NASA Worldwide