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More summer sizzlers unless warming stops

PUBLISHED: 11:01 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:20 23 August 2010

MIXED BLESSINGS: At the end of July, north Kent saw turbulent weather ranging from record heat waves to sudden deluges and hail.

MIXED BLESSINGS: At the end of July, north Kent saw turbulent weather ranging from record heat waves to sudden deluges and hail.

AS GLOBAL leaders met in Copenhagen to discuss the challenges of climate change, the Reporter delved into the dangers it poses to you. Rising temperatures and sea levels are the two most common predictions that arise from discussions over global warming

AS GLOBAL leaders met in Copenhagen to discuss the challenges of climate change, the Reporter delved into the dangers it poses to you.

Rising temperatures and sea levels are the two most common predictions that arise from discussions over global warming and north Kent could be seriously affected by both.

The heat wave of summer 2003 was felt across the country, but it was in Gravesend that the UK's highest ever temperature was registered, a blistering 38.1 degree Celsius.

Combined with the threat of rising water levels in the Thames Estuary, under investigation by the Environment Agency and the Met Office, it can be seen that residents in north Kent should be watching the results of the summit in Denmark closely.

Dave Britton, a senior spokesman for the Met Office explained some of the reasons Kent, and North Kent in particular, is likely to see the highest temperatures.

He said: "The warm temperatures build up over Europe and then drift out towards the south east area more.

"North and west are surrounded by a lot more water so they do not experience such extreme heat."

He went on to explain that urban areas with more tarmac, which absorbs heat, and more people all help to push up the mercury which is why north Kent sees higher temperatures than the more rural south.

Some may welcome hotter summers, but few will welcome the threat of rising water levels, and the Met Office and Environment Agency has conducted a survey, the Thames Estuary 2100 Project, to forecast how to combat this.

Mr Britton explained that 50 and 100 year projections, including likely outcomes and their percentage probabilities were being produced to best prepare for any eventuality.

Green Party leader and Kent MEP Caroline Lucas is determined to see the Copenhagen summit help reduce future problems in the south east.

She said: "To have even a 50-50 chance of keeping the global temperature rise below two degrees C, industrialised countries need to adopt binding targets to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020, based on 1990 levels.

"While a climate deal still looks pretty far from being signed, sealed and delivered, we can at the very least expect to achieve clear foundations for one and a timetable for finalising targets within the coming months.

"World leaders have a responsibility to act now to prevent climate chaos.

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