"It’s going to be a very hot day..."

September 04, 2022

"We’re hoping the record we set in 2019 won’t be broken today, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a very hot day in Cambridge University Botanic Garden...We’ve been recording the weather at our weather station here in the Garden since 1904. This data set is also used by researchers analysing climate change. However, recording these high UK temperatures serves as a serious reminder that we all need to be taking climate change and its impacts seriously. Some are basking in this hot weather and others are not so happy. All of the current global challenges – climate change, biodiversity and feeding the population – are intimately inter-connected and if one goes wrong they all start to suffer.

Professor Beverley Glover, Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden (CUBG), says she "can't help but feel dismay" at the high temperatures predicted this week and how these serve as a serious reminder of climate change and its impacts.

"We’re hoping the record we set in 2019 won’t be broken today, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a very hot day in Cambridge University Botanic Garden...

We’ve been recording the weather at our weather station here in the Garden since 1904. This long history of data is used by the Met Office and was verified by them in defining the scale of the 2019 heatwave, when the highest ever temperature in the UK – 38.7 degrees Celsius – was recorded here 25 July 2019. This data set is also used by researchers analysing climate change. However, recording these high UK temperatures serves as a serious reminder that we all need to be taking climate change and its impacts seriously.

The record-breaking temperature in July 2019 at CUBG

The record-breaking temperature in July 2019 at CUBG

We can’t help but feel dismay at the high temperature recorded in 2019 and the predicted high temperatures [this week] and the very real implication that our local climate is getting hotter. This has inevitable consequences for people, plants and animals around us. This intense heat, and the summer storms we’ve been experiencing over recent years, highlights how dynamic the climate is.

We are concerned about the potential impact of hotter, drier weather on our living collection, which we grow for teaching and to support scientists and their research worldwide. It’s this research which is looking to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges such as climate change and the supply of food and medicines, so it’s vital our collection is well maintained and looked after. 

Our collection consists of over 8,000 species of plants from all over the world, from the Arctic to the Himalayas to the Tropics. Some are basking in this hot weather and others are not so happy. This may mean a change of what we are able to successfully hold in our collections in the future, and this in turn will have an impact on the research which is able to be done using it.

All of the current global challenges – climate change, biodiversity and feeding the population – are intimately inter-connected and if one goes wrong they all start to suffer. We monitor biodiversity in the Garden and our plants are being used in all aspects of research in the current climate emergency. For example, research into plant-pollinator relationships. As the climate changes, the range of insect changes and the range of plants changes and if they don’t change at the same rate, then it uncouples that important relationship between plant and pollinator. This can have a major impact, for example in crop plants, with implications in terms of food security.”

Read more about temperature recordings and coping with hot weather in a longer Q&A with Beverley Glover by Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

The source of this news is from University of Cambridge

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