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GCSE Geography | How Will Extreme Weather Affect the UK? (Weather Hazards 15)

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas

Last updated 19 Jul 2023

Records show evidence that weather in the UK is becoming more extreme - but what will that mean for us?

Heavier rainfall in the winter

Infrastructure - there may be a higher risk of damage to buildings and roads from flood events.

Transport - there may be more disruption to travel as flooding cuts of roads and railway lines, as well as making driving conditions more dangerous.

Water supply - there may be issues with contamination if drains in urban areas become overwhelmed.

More frequent and hotter heatwaves

Health - there may be more health conditions related to heat, such as dehydration and heat stroke - but also an increased risk to people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes as extreme heat causes a rise in glucose levels, and heart disease as the body has to work harder to keep its core temperature to normal levels, putting extra strain on the heart, as well as the lungs and kidneys.

Transport - there may be more incidence of travel being disrupted by the heat, for example, tarmac on road surfaces melting and rails buckling.

Energy - there may be higher demand for cooling by fans or air conditioning systems.

Increased drought risk in the summer

Farming - there may be lower crop yields which will affect the livelihood of farmers, as well as having to spend more money on irrigation.

Water supply - there may be less water available for domestic use and industry, which could lead to water restrictions.

Property - there may be more buildings that experience subsidence as soils dry out and shrink.

Wildfires – the summer of 2022 saw frequent wild fires breaking out across the UK because the ground was so dry.

Less cold weather

Energy - there may be less of a demand for energy to heat homes (which will come in handy as energy prices are currently soaring).

Transport - there may be fewer incidence of disrupted road, rail and air travel due to heavy snow.

Health - there may be less risk of cold-related conditions such as flu and pneumonia - also fewer heart attacks and strokes, which have an increased risk in cold weather as the colder temperatures cause blood vessels to tighten at the same time as blood flow is speeding up to help you stay warm - this causes higher blood pressure.

However it is important to note here that whilst the impact of climate change may be relatively positive in terms of reducing all of these factors in winter months, the impact of heavier rainfall, more frequent and hotter heatwaves and increased drought risk in the summer far outweigh the marginal gains of less extreme winters.

How Will Extreme Weather Affect the UK? | AQA GCSE Geography | Weather Hazards 15

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