Accessibility navigation

Heatwaves: an invisible risk in UK policy and research

Brimicombe, C., Porter, J. J., Di Napoli, C., Pappenberger, F., Cornforth, R. ORCID:, Petty, C. and Cloke, H. L. ORCID: (2021) Heatwaves: an invisible risk in UK policy and research. Environmental Science & Policy, 116. pp. 1-7. ISSN 1462-9011

Text (Open Access) - Published Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.10.021


In 2019, a heatwave – an unusual extended period of hot weather – broke the UK’s highest recorded temperature of 38.7 °C set in 2003. Of concern is that for summer 2019, this resulted in 892 excess deaths. With the intensity and frequency of UK heatwaves projected to increase, and summer temperatures predicted to be 5 °C hotter by 2070, urgent action is needed to prepare for, and adapt to, the changes now and to come. Yet it remains unclear what actions are needed and by whom. In response, a systematic literature review of UK heatwaves peer-reviewed publications, inclusive of keyword criteria (total papers returned = 183), was conducted to understand what lessons have been learnt and what needs to happen next. Our research shows that heatwaves remain largely an invisible risk in the UK. Communication over what UK residents should do, the support needed to make changes, and their capacity to enact those changes, is often lacking. In turn, there is an inherent bias where research focuses too narrowly on the health and building sectors over other critical sectors, such as agriculture. An increased amount of action and leadership is therefore necessary from the UK government to address this.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:93835


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation