This week has seen record temperatures set in parts of the UK, railways disrupted by extreme heat, and well-being fears for the elderly as we experience a genuine summer heat wave.
Researchers at the London School of Economics have responded by suggesting that the Met Office should start naming heatwaves in the same way that it names severe storms. This would then highlight the health risks of hot spells and the growing impact of climate change, and help the public treat them seriously. By attaching a name to a weather event, it has been found to help people track its progress, and also prepare people for and avoid dangers that might come along with it.
The Met Office started naming our storms in 2015, and this year has already seen storms Freya, Gareth, and Hannah batter Britain. Next up will be Storm Idris. But with far more people having died from recent heatwaves than from storms, perhaps it is time to to start applying names to both. Maybe we will soon hear warnings on the radio for elderly to close their curtains and avoid going outside during the hottest part of the day as ‘Heatwave Alexander’ is predicted to arrive?
What would your ‘Heatwave Name Alphabet’ be?