Met Office may use same strategy used in storms to draw public’s attention. There are fears Britain might not be prepared for heatwaves.

  • Met Office will consider naming heatwaves as they grow more dangerous
  • Research suggests that people are more conscious of hurricanes when they’re named.
  • UK prepares for warmer summers, and there are concerns for vulnerable elderly people. 

Scientists are trying to increase public awareness of the effects of global warming and heatwaves may soon be given their own names. 

According to Prof Penny Endersby, chief executive of the Met Office, they are considering names for heatwaves, as these become more deadly.    

The Sunday Telegraph was told by Prof Endersby that people are becoming more knowledgeable about storms, since the weather agency began to name them.

This same approach could be applied to heatwaves. As concerns rise about the possibility of more intense hot summers in future, this tactic may also work for heatwaves.

Public Health England reported that heat-related deaths rose by more than 1000 last year, setting a new UK record. 

A beach in Dorset in September, as Hurricane Larry catapulted a 600-mile wide 77F 'subtropical sizzle' to our shores - bringing a second autumn heatwave

Dorset beach, September 2005: Hurricane Larry hurled a 600-mile-wide 77F “subtropical sizzle” to our shores. This brought a second fall heatwave.

Professor Endersby stated that the warning has been added to our collection of warnings. Our first one was only this summer.

“We are not yet naming heatwaves. It’s possible, but I’m not ruling it out. Especially since heat-related death isn’t as easy to identify as other bad-weather-related deaths.

The Met Office, along with its Dutch and Irish counterparts, has been naming storms alphabetically from September through August of the next year. The names were suggested by the public.

Recent contributions include the likes of Arwen, Imani, Méabh and Ruby.

London School of Economics and academics first called for the MET’s 2019 name change to heatwaves. They claimed that these extreme temperatures can cause more harm to public health than normal weather. 

People with existing heart, lung and other conditions are particularly at-risk from extreme heat. 

This weather map of a heatwave in September shows fresh heat arriving from the subtropics, sucked north by powerful Storm Larry as it approached Iceland

This is a weather map showing a heatwave that hit September. The heat was brought in by the subtropics and sucked northwards by Storm Larry.

In 2019, the highest temperature in Britain was 38.7C (101F). It was recorded in Cambridge.

Scientists are concerned that temperature rises of 40C (104F), despite climate targets being met at Cop26 conferences.

The Met Office said this month that the record breaking 50C heatwaves in southern Europe (122F) would not have been possible without human-caused climate change.