U.K. weather experts drew a heatwave model for 2050. It came true 28 years early.

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Two years ago, with meteorologists quickening the rate at which they try to warn the world of the perils of unchecked climate change, the UK’s Met Office — the official weather forecasting agency for the country — posted an alarming, red-splashed temperature map. It was meant as a teaching tool.

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The Met Office imagined, as a strict hypothetical, what July 23, 2050 might feel like for this far-northern, populous island nation and its Irish neighbors. This was based on climate change projections and what is known so far about global warming’s impact — not in strictly causing weather extremes, but in boosting their frequency and severity.

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“Not actual weather forecast,” the graphic made clear. “Examples of plausible weather based on climate projections.”

But this week, the Met Office no longer had to pretend. The severe heat wave was here — 28 years early.

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On Tuesday, for the first time in its recorded history, London’s main airport, Heathrow, registered a temperature north of 40 degrees Celsius.

Here’s what that looks like for those used to a Fahrenheit thermometer. For starters, the record-setting 40 degrees Celsius equates to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Although as one London-based, American-born MarketWatch colleague reported: It’s hot as hell, but no humidity!

London in the south to Manchester, and Leeds in the north, remained under the country’s first warning of “extreme” heat Tuesday, meaning there is danger of death even for healthy people.

UK train operators warned the heat could warp the rails, and some schools and daycares set up wading pools to help children cool off in a country where air conditioning is rare. At least five people were reported to have drowned across the UK in rivers, lakes and reservoirs while trying to cool off, the Associated Press reported.

Studies have shown that the likelihood of temperatures in the UK reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) is now 10 times higher than in the pre-industrial era, the Met Office says,

Drafted and heat waves tied to climate change have also made wildfires harder to fight.

The dangers of extreme heat were on display in parts of continental Europe. At least 748 heat-related deaths have been reported in the heat wave in Spain and neighboring Portugal, where temperatures reached 47 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) earlier this month.

Due to wildfires in Spain and France made worse by the heat and drought, thousands of people have been evacuated. Two people were killed in the blazes in Spain that its prime minister linked to global warming, saying, “Climate change kills.”

And in the US? Since the 1980s, there have been three daily record high temperatures for every two record lows set in the US, according to the National Weather Service. Hot weather impacts everyone, but is most taxing on first responders and those working outside, as well as elderly people, young people and folks already experiencing compromised respiratory issues.

And some signs show this may only be the beginning. If greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly curtailed, daily high and low temperatures will increase by at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit in most US areas by mid-century, rising to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by late century. In fact, the National Climate Assessment estimates 20-30 more days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in most US areas by mid-century.

Read more on heat extremes,

Severe heat: 5 electricity blackout risks facing the entire US, not just Texas

Why you, and your wallet, must get used to heatwaves

Don’t rule out natural gas in the clean-energy transition, says trade group

The top US cities labeled as dangerous ‘heat islands’ include a few small-population surprises

A retirement safe from climate change? Ask the tough questions about real estate and property insurance

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Credit: www.marketwatch.com /

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