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Heavy Rain After A Heatwave – How Does It Happen? And Why Is It So Bad?

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Thunderstorms, lightning, and floods are expected throughout the UK due to heavy rain after a heatwave.

According to the Environment Agency of England, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and Natural Resources Wales, there are now 33 flood warnings in effect throughout the United Kingdom.

Flood warnings have been issued for most of Scotland, and there are fears that the Thames may overflow and cause chaos in London.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has said that transport for London intends to "address any consequences of flash flooding", following last year's flooding of the Tube and other networks.

What Is A Heatwave?

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/heavy-rain-after-a-heatwave/ by Jaya Mckeown on 2022-08-20T01:51:06.064Z

A heatwave is a prolonged period of hot weather compared to the area's typical conditions at that time of year, which may be accompanied by excessive humidity.

Heatwaves are most likely in the summer when high pressure builds up across a large region.

High-pressure systems are slow-moving and may last for days or weeks over a given region.

Hot days are becoming hotter and more common worldwide, whereas cold days are becoming fewer and further between.

Daily record high temperatures have happened twice as often as record low temperatures over the continental United States in the last decade, up from a near 1:1 ratio in the 1950s.

Heat waves are growing more prevalent, and violent heat waves are becoming more frequent in the United States West.

However, the 1930s still hold the record for the number of heat waves in various sections of the nation (primarily related to the Dust Bowl, which was exacerbated by the conversion of prairie to farmland).

Suppose greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced.

In that case, daily high and low temperatures will rise by at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century, rising to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the late century in most locations.

The National Climate Assessment predicts 20–30 extra days with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in most places by mid-century.

When paired with excessive humidity, heat waves become even more deadly.

The heat index measures the combination of temperature and humidity.

Compared to the end of the twentieth century, new research predicts that the yearly number of days with a heat index of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will double, and days with a heat index exceeding 105 degrees Fahrenheit will treble.

Heavy Rain And Heatwave

Extreme weather events like heatwaves and heavy rainfall are becoming more frequent, intense, and prolonged as the planet warms.

Warm temperature extremes and heatwaves have increased across Australia, while cold temperatures, such as the coldest nights, have decreased.

Marine heatwaves delivered 32 and 26 days above 25°C across New Zealand, far exceeding the average of 20 days.

This accelerated glacial melting in the Southern Alps has caused significant disruption to marine ecosystems.

Cold nights have also decreased significantly in many parts of northern and eastern Australia.

Extreme rainfall has become more common in many parts of northern and western Australia.

However, frost frequency has stabilized and, in some places, increased in parts of southeast and southwest Australia since the 1980s.

More extremely wet days contribute to the annual rainfall total in New Zealand's east, with a minor increase in the west and south of the South Island.

Is Heatwave In UK Linked To Climate Change?

Summer 2018 was the second warmest in a UK series dating back to 1884 for mean daily maximum temperature (tied with 1995), with summer 1976 being the hottest.

Heatwaves are severe weather phenomena, but the study reveals that climate change is increasing frequency.

According to a Met Office scientific analysis of the UK's Summer 2018 heatwave, the chance of the UK having a summer as hot or hotter than 2018 is little more than one in ten.

Because of the larger quantity of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere, it is 30 times more likely to occur today than before the industrial revolution.

Heatwaves of equal severity are expected to grow more often as greenhouse gas concentrations rise, perhaps happening every other year by the 2050s.

Since the pre-industrial period (1850-1900), the Earth's surface temperature has increased by 1°C, and UK temperatures have risen by a comparable amount.

Heatwaves occasionally occur in the UK, albeit at a lower frequency and severity than elsewhere.

The summer of 2018 tied with 2006, 2003, and 1976 for the hottest summer on record in the United Kingdom.

The warmest day of the summer was July 27, when 35.6 °C was recorded at Felsham, Suffolk.

In August 2003, the United Kingdom faced a 10-day heatwave that killed 2,000 people.

A high temperature of 38.5 degrees Celsius during this heatwave was recorded in Faversham, Kent.

Similar circumstances happened in July 2006, shattering records and culminating in the UK's hottest month.

The 2003 highest temperature record was beaten at Cambridge University Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019, at 38.7 °C.

‘Wrong kind of rain’: Thunderstorm warnings after heatwave

Why Does Flooding Occur After A Heatwave?

Why is heavy rain after a heatwave so dangerous?

A little rain is healthy for the environment, but a film from the University of Reading illustrates that too much rain may be dangerous.

After a heatwave in the video, he pours a cup of water on damp grass, regular summer grass, and grass.

Compared to wet grass and common grass, a cup of water does not soak into the grass after a heatwave.

Dr. Thompson said,

Another user noted that it might seem counter-intuitive, but dry earth does not absorb water as rapidly. Flooding becomes more likely as climate change exacerbates heatwaves, droughts, and heavy rain.

Dr. Thompson further said,

Add to that - warmer air contains more water, so heavy rain is heavier... it's a reasonably nasty mix and makes flash floods an increasing hazard

Heavy downpour of rain
Heavy downpour of rain

Threats Of Heatwave

Heat waves may enhance the likelihood of other sorts of catastrophes. Heat may worsen drought, and hot, dry conditions can lead to wildfires.

Buildings, roads, and infrastructure absorb heat, causing temperatures in metropolitan areas to be 1 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in surrounding regions—a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect.

This effect is most apparent during the day, but overnight slow heat release from infrastructure (or an atmospheric heat island) may keep cities much hotter than surrounding places.

Rising temperatures in the United States endanger people, ecosystems, and the economy.

Effects On Human Health

Extreme heat is one of the major causes of weather-related mortality in the United States, killing more than 600 people each year on average from 1999 to 2009, more than all other effects combined (excluding hurricanes).

Heat-related sickness and death are most frequently caused by high humidity and rising nighttime temperatures.

When there is no relief from the heat at night, it may create pain and health concerns, particularly for those who do not have access to cooling, who are frequently low-income individuals.

Other categories at risk for heat stress include elderly persons, newborns and children, those with chronic health concerns, and outdoor laborers.

Hot days are also linked to increased heat-related ailments, such as cardiovascular and respiratory difficulties and renal disease.

Extreme temperatures have an impact on air quality.

Hot and sunny days may boost the formation of ground-level ozone.

This dangerous pollutant is the principal component of smog and can impair the respiratory system, especially in individuals with asthma.

Furthermore, increased air conditioning usage necessitates more power, which, depending on the source, releases different forms of pollutants, including particles, which influence air quality.

These increases in ozone and particle matter may pose substantial dangers to humans, especially the same vulnerable populations listed above that are directly harmed by heat.

Effects On Agriculture

Agriculture might suffer from high heat.

High daytime temperatures negatively influence plant development, while certain crops need chilly nighttime temperatures.

Heat waves can increase the likelihood of cattle suffering from heat stress, mainly if nighttime temperatures stay high and animals cannot cool down.

Heat stress may cause milk supply to drop, growth to decrease, and conception rates to drop.

Heat waves may intensify droughts and wildfires, significantly influencing a winter fodder shortage culture.

For example, the 2021 West drought forced North Dakota cattle farmers to sell their animals due to a winter fodder shortage.

California wildfires have destroyed agricultural property, boosting the cost of insurance for farmers and vineyards.

Effect On Energy System

Warmer temperatures impact several parts of the energy system in the United States, including production, transmission, and demand.

While greater summer temperatures boost cooling demand, they may also reduce transmission line capacity, potentially leading to electrical dependability difficulties such as rolling blackouts during heat waves.

Although milder winters would lower the demand for heating, modeling indicates that overall U.S. energy use will rise in a warmer future.

Furthermore, when rivers and lakes warm, their ability to absorb waste heat from power plants diminishes.

This reduces the thermal efficiency of power generation, making it difficult for power plants to meet environmental rules governing the temperature of their cooling water.

It may result in power plant shutdowns.

People Also Ask

Flooding is one of the potential consequences of heavy rain, as is the risk to human life, damage to buildings and infrastructure, and crop and livestock loss.

What Does It Mean When It Rains Heavy?

Heavy rain is defined as more than or equal to 2 inches (50 mm) of rain in 24 hours.

Does Global Warming Cause Heavy Rain?

Climate change has the potential to alter the intensity and frequency of precipitation. Warmer oceans cause more water to evaporate into the atmosphere.

More moisture-laden air can produce more intense precipitation, such as heavier rain and snow storms, when it moves over land or converges into a storm system.

Why Does It Always Rain After A Heatwave?

Warm air can store more moisture than chilly air. It typically rains more heavily when the warmer air cools, and the water condenses.

Conclusion

Climate change is already expected to exacerbate extreme heat and rainfall.

Heavy summer rain will become more common in the northern hemisphere as the climate warms.

Storms carry more moisture after a heat wave than in the past.

The moisture in the air changes with temperature: raise the temperature by 1°C, and the air can hold 7% more water.

So, avoiding flooding caused by heavy rains is only possible if climate change-induced global warming is stopped or reduced.

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About The Authors

Jaya Mckeown

Jaya Mckeown - Jaya moved to Boston from New York to pursue a master's degree in corporate communications at Emerson College. This experience, combined with her undergraduate degree in psychology and teaching, has equipped her with valuable skills that she employs on a daily basis in real estate negotiations, homebuyer and seller education, and successful promotion of the team's listings. Jaya's clients often characterize her as meticulous, proactive, and enjoyable to be around.

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