20 May, 2023.
The United Kingdom is bracing itself for unprecedented heat wave conditions as meteorologists warn of the arrival of the African Plume, a meteorological phenomenon that brings scorching temperatures from the Sahara desert to Europe. The impact of this weather system is expected to result in “record-breaking” temperatures in the UK.
Understanding the African Plume
The African Plume is characterized by the movement of a mass of hot air from the Sahara desert towards Europe. As this air mass crosses the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it absorbs heat and moisture, intensifying its warmth and humidity. This phenomenon leads to a prolonged period of exceptionally high temperatures, often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. The duration of these extreme temperatures can last for days or even weeks.
Climate Change and Growing Frequency of African Plumes
Researchers believe that the increasing frequency of African plumes is linked to climate change and the warming Earth. The intensification of global warming and human-caused emissions contribute to the more frequent occurrence of such weather patterns. These findings highlight the interconnectedness between climate change and the occurrence of extreme weather events.
Global Warming and the Temperature Barrier
Scientists are concerned about global warming breaching the critical temperature barrier of 1.5°C in the coming years. The likelihood of surpassing this threshold between now and 2027 stands at 66%, primarily due to human-caused emissions and the potential influence of El Niño weather patterns. While breaching this limit would be concerning, it is expected to be a temporary occurrence.