Britain's extreme summer temperatures don't just dry up the land, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The country's heatwave has even caused the trees to drop their leaves early, bringing about a "false fall."
Instead of green, many of Britain's gardens, parks and urban forests are now a sea of orange, yellow, red and brown leaves, with a thick carpet of leaves on the ground, reports AFP. Early leaves are a sign of stress.
It is explained that the trees shed their leaves to try to retain moisture. Experts say while older trees with deep roots can survive drier conditions, younger, less established trees are at risk of dying.
"The trees use the hormones they use in the fall to retract and ensure their survival," Rosie Walker of the conservation charity Woodland Trust, told BBC radio. "They will continue like this for a few years, but will start to have an impact on the trees if we are not very careful."
Temperatures soared above 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in Britain in July 2022. Climate change has been blamed for a heatwave that has caused drought and a ban on hose pipes to save water in some areas.
The Woodland Trust said the fallen leaves were most likely from birch, silver birch and rowan trees. "We saw the first turn in silver birch on August 12, which is very early," Walker said, adding that other species were also shedding their leaves.
Happening More Often
Leigh Hunt, principal horticultural adviser at the Royal Horticultural Society, said that a similar situation was observed during the prolonged dry season in 2006-2007 and just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's been really, really bad this year," he told Times Radio. "But what I've noticed is that these events seem to be happening more frequently. Hotter temperatures, drier summers and more erratic rains fit perfectly into the notion of climate change."
Meanwhile, The Woodland Trust said it had recorded the earliest appearance of ripe wild blackberries, which are usually autumn fruit, on June 28, 2022. Premature ripening of fruit and nuts could negatively impact energy-storing small mammals and birds in September and October.
"Nature's timing is everything to our wildlife," said Steve Hussey of the Devon Wildlife Trust in southwest England. "The climate crisis brings with it seasonal weather patterns that our wildlife cannot adapt to."
"Our long, hot summers and 'false fall' will affect many species into the true fall months and beyond," he added.
Affected by Climate Change
The recent British heatwave has been "smoldering." Those hot conditions are at least 10 times more likely to be due to human-caused climate change, a new analysis by the World Weather Attribution (WWA) shows.
Citing CNN, they also said the findings were likely too low. This is because the tools available to scientists are limited and create a lack of insight into how big a role humans play in heat waves.
Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and longer globally. Scientists say human-caused climate change is having an effect on many things. A more difficult question to answer: "How big is human influence?"
To determine human influence on extreme heat, scientists used a combination of observations and climate models. The extreme heat observed in western Europe is increasing more than climate models predict.
"While models estimate greenhouse gas emissions to increase temperatures in this heatwave by two degrees Celsius, historical weather records indicate that the heatwave will be four degrees Celsius warmer," WWA said in a statement.
British Infrastructure Conquered
WWA continued, "This shows that the model underestimates the real impact of human-caused climate change on high temperatures in the UK and other parts of Western Europe.
"It also means that the results of the conservative analysis and climate change are likely to increase the frequency of events more than the factors predicted by the study," he added.
When temperatures in Britain soared, last month, the country's infrastructure collapsed. Railroads are out of shape, airport runways are even melted. The London fire department declared a "major incident" when a number of fires broke out, in what the service said was the busiest day since World War II.
People were advised to work from home, some schools were closed, while hospitals and emergency services were restricted.
"In Europe and other parts of the world we are seeing more and more record-breaking heat waves causing temperature extremes that are getting hotter (and) faster than in most climate models," said Friederike Otto of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, which lead the WWA project.