The BBC predicted terrible heat waves in 2020 due to climate change
The BBC predicted terrible heat waves in 2020 due to climate change

We have been talking about climate change for a long, long time. While it is true that the pressing events of the last decade have made it an inevitable urgency in public debate, climate change has been part of our media conversation, at least, since the beginning of the last decade. Studies, reports, television programs and documentaries explored him deeply fifteen years ago, although his penetration was less.

Any trip to the hemeroteca reveals it. And given the large amount of forecasts that scientists have poured into the climate of the planet for so many years (remember: we have forecasts for dates as far away as 2300, and yes, they are much more useful than you tend to believe), observe how we thought that meteorological phenomena would vary and how they have varied now that we approach critical dates is an exercise as fun as it is creepy.

Think, for example, of the extensive documentary produced and broadcast by the BBC in 2007. Narrated by David Attenborough, the recognizable voice in all the great documentaries about the nature of the planet since the mid-twentieth century, Climate Change – Britain Under Threat explored what It would be from the good British Isles in the future if the global warming trend was sustained. The narrative led from the scientific evidence available to accredit climate change to models that estimated the results of the phenomenon throughout Great Britain.

For it recreated in the future situations attributable to climate change, such as extreme temperatures, radical weather variations or floods, and went into dates no longer as distant as 2020, 2030 or 2050. It wanted the providence that the BBC dramatized one of its Meteorologists presenting the weather during the summer of 2020, and explaining how the particular heat waves of tomorrow would force England to live under the perennial suffocation of +30 ºC.

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Although the figure may be laughable in more southern latitudes (March Valencia sends an affectionate greeting), any summer trip to London reveals the extent to which the British perception of heat is different from ours. Well, taking advantage of the heat wave that has punished Europe for weeks, Gonzalo Saenz de Miera recovered on Twitter the hypothetical 2020 weather map imagined by the BBC… And the real time map for the United Kingdom in August 2018 .

Result? It is not that the forecasts were exaggerated: it is that two years before arriving at the date the situation is much worse . London, Birmingham or Liverpool face a summer with daily maximums of 31 ºC and 33 ºC.

2007 was right

That is, yes, the warnings of scientists and climate experts were right in their distant warnings of 2007. A decade later, the United Kingdom faces exactly the same situation that Attenborough and his team of writers drew for that one. so. Despite what we tend to think, the risks posed by the scientific community on climate change (extinctions, melting poles, rising sea ​​levels, desertification, drastic human migrations , etc.) do not come from nowhere.

The heatwave expected in 2007 was far away. The one of 2018 no. The United Kingdom has been on alert since mid-June for extremely high temperatures throughout Britain and throughout the summer. Corners always sullen to the heat as the north of Scotland or Northern Ireland have often exceeded 30 ºC, and points further south as Kent have marked historical maximum of 35 ºC . Beyond punctuality, the relevance lies in regularity : it is a very long and very hot summer for all the British and for northern Europe in general.

The situation is so exceptional (and worrying) that a glance from the aerial photographs reveals how Britain, always green, has been colored brown this summer. Dry.

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We have seen it in the Arctic, for example, where a host of abnormal temperatures from Helsinki to Oslo have caused large batches of forest in northern Sweden to start burning. The country has been struggling for a month with an unprecedented fire wave over the last decade with at least a dozen spotlights located above the Arctic Circle. The situation is similar for the rest of Europe, where the drought has already become alarming.

Whether for the hottest night ever recorded in the recent history of the Earth (Oman minimum of 42 ° C) or the dozens of deaths that Canada and the United States carry their backs, the heat wave in the northern hemisphere approaches much to what 2007 documentaries intuited. The success goes beyond regions prone to heat, such as the Arabian peninsula or the Mediterranean. They indicate that other temperate latitudes are approaching their already usual hulking heat.

Britain used to be green. Used to. (MET Office)
Britain used to be green. Used to. (MET Office)

The most disturbing? Beyond the heat wave, the clear contrast with what happened a few months ago, when another extraordinary wave of Siberian cold submerged the European continent under the snow and the storm. With each cold wave, more often, another heat happens. Proof that the climatic dynamics are becoming extreme (although in the Arctic it always seems to make more heat than it should). This scenario is becoming more plausible every day.

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