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expert reaction to UKHSA issuing level 3 heat health alert

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have issued a heat-health alert as high temperatures are forecast for much of the country this week.


Prof Dann Mitchell, Professor of Climate Science at University of Bristol, and Met Office Chair in Climate Hazards, said:

“The high-pressure atmospheric conditions, and extremely dry land conditions have combined into a deadly mix, created ideal conditions for extreme heat. Both the high pressure and drier conditions have persisted throughout summer, which is why we keep seeing records being broken. Hotter and drier summers in the UK is something we know will get worse in the future, due to human induced climate change. We have known about this for a long time.

“The coming heatwave will likely not be as harmful for our health as the record breaker a fortnight ago, but it still poses a very real health threat, and we expect heat-related mortality to be in the 100s across the UK. The level 3 heat health alert is based on the forecasting of the weather conditions, but also with an assessment of everything else going on in society, for instance, are NHS services under particular stress, like during the peak of COVID19.

“A level 3 warning means preventative action is needed to minimise the social and ecosystem impacts of the heat.”


Prof Hannah Cloke, Professor of Hydrology, University of Reading, said:

“The warnings for extreme heat from both the Met Office and the heat health alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency are another reminder that this summer in the UK is proving to be lethally hot.

“Compared to the July record-breaking heat, this event will be less intense but last longer, which could actually have a greater impact on people’s health. This heatwave might not break any records for maximum temperatures, but it might actually cause more deaths. We know that the most dangerous heat conditions are caused when people, particularly those with underlying health conditions, have no respite from the heat for days and nights on end. This is why it is crucial that people have access to spaces to cool down in, even for an hour or two each day. Keeping a cool room in your house is one way to do this.”



Declared interests

Prof Hannah Cloke is a natural hazards researcher & climate expert.  Her research is funded by UKRI NERC, UKRI EPSRC, FCDO & the European Commission.  She is a member of UKRI NERC council and a fellow of ECMWF.  She advises the Environment Agency and DEFRA on environmental hazards.

For all other experts, no reply to our request for DOIs was received.

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