Climate change may increase the frequency of droughts, flooding and more intense heat waves in parts of the United Kingdom, according to a study published Monday.
The study found that droughty conditions are becoming more common in parts the United States, Canada and parts of Western Europe, including Northern Ireland, which are all experiencing rising temperatures, particularly in winter.
The new study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, finds that drought and heat waves are becoming increasingly common in the Northern Ireland region, with more than two-thirds of the counties in Northern Europe reporting some form of drought in 2015.
The report also found that the majority of counties in the United Arab Emirates and Oman also experienced some form in 2015, with drought intensifying in parts.
“In Northern Ireland and England, there has been a substantial increase in the frequency and severity of drought, heat waves and drought,” study co-author Dr. David Gwynne, from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) climate center, said in a press release.
“The increase in drought and heat events may be due to climate change and climate change related extreme weather events.”
Drought and Heat WavesDrought is defined as any period of dry weather lasting longer than 1 month.
Heat waves, or hot, dry weather, are defined as periods of heat above 35 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least two consecutive days.
In 2015, the Northern Irish Drought Risk Group, a consortium of local authorities, issued a national alert to warn of increased risk of heat waves, droughthes, and droughting in the region, as a result of climate change.
In the UK, there were more than 1,000 heat waves reported in 2015 in England, Wales and Scotland, the BBC reported.
In the north of England, temperatures reached up to 35 degrees (86 Fahrenheit) in March and April, according the BBC.
In Northern Europe, the heat wave was the worst in Italy, the Czech Republic and Hungary, according Climate Central, a climate monitoring service.
The heat wave hit northern Germany and northern Sweden, the European Network of Meteorological Organizations (ENMA) reported.
Heat waves are also becoming more frequent in parts in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The hot weather was particularly intense in southern France, according TOI.
In Germany, heat wave-related deaths increased by over 20 percent in March, while heat wave deaths increased over 20.5 percent in April, and heat wave related deaths increased 17 percent in May, according Deutsche Welle, a daily newspaper in Germany.
In England, heatwave-related fatalities increased by 21 percent in the south-east of England between March and May, compared to a decrease of 8 percent in England and Wales.
Heat wave-linked deaths increased to around 3,400 in the capital, London, between March 14 and May 5, according ToI.