UK to be hit by swarm of mosquitoes if CO2 stays at record levels

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Mosquitos could bring malaria, Zika, dengue and yellow fever to the UK
There are fears climate change means mosquitos could bring malaria, Zika, dengue and yellow fever to the UK (Photo: Getty)

Scientists have detected the highest levels of carbon dioxide in the Earths atmosphere since records began.

The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii detected 415.26 parts per million (ppm) on Saturday.

The last time Earths atmosphere contained this much CO2 was more than three million years ago.

The 2015 Paris Agreement calls on humanity to stop the rise in Earths temperature at well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels.

Extreme weather, like cyclones and typhoons, will increase, as will flooding and heatwaves – risking wildfires and severe droughts.

Although one million species are at risk of extinction, mosquitoes will thrive, meaning a further 27 per cent of the planet will be at risk of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

So what does it all mean for us?

In the UK in the past two years alone weve seen everything from record breaking heatwaves, wildfires and drought to snow storms, widespread flooding, and fatally cold temperatures.

Firefighters tackle a large wildfire on Saddleworth Moor on February 26, 2019
Firefighters tackle a large wildfire on Saddleworth Moor on February 26, 2019 (Picture: Getty)
A car is submerged in flood water in York after the River Ouse burst its banks in March 2019
A car is submerged in flood water in York after the River Ouse burst its banks in March 2019 (Picture: PA)

Mosquitos

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Last year the Department of Health announced a multi-million pound research fund to tackle the health effects of global warming as it warned climate change risks malaria, Zika, dengue and yellow fever being brought to the UK by mosquitos.

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) said a rise in fluctuating weather – from extreme flooding to heatwaves – provides a fertile environment for mosquitoes to flourish.

BPCA is particularly concerned about one type of invasive species taking hold in the country, the Asian Tiger mosquito.

The eggs and lava of this mosquito variety have already been discovered in two sites in the south-east of England in 2016 and 2017.

Earlier this year research by Oxford University found that over the next 30 years, insect-borne diseases could pose a risk to half the worlds population.

Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager said: In terms of the Asian Tiger mosquito, it is particularly important that this pest does not get a toe-hold in the UK as it is a species of concern.

Malaria vaccine bottle
The government has launched research to protect against the health impact of global warming (Picture: Getty)

Wildfires

In February as Britain baked in unseasonably hot weather, a fire stretching 1.5 square kilometres set Saddleworth Moor ablaze.

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The fire near Marsden, Yorkshire, could be seen for miles around. That same day, firefighters battled gorse fires on Arthurs Seat overlooking Edinburgh and two separate fires in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex.

People having barbeques on the hot dry land were to blame for sparking the flames – but the weather certainly played its part.

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Climate change is expected to mean hotter, drier summers going forward and made the 2018 heatwave 30 times more likely.

Fire on Saddleworth Moor
The Saddleworth Moor blaze raged for days in record winter heat (Picture: PA)
Saddleworth Moor fire lights the sky orange
Wildfires could become an increasingly common occurrence (Picture: PA)

Heatwaves

Last summer some parts of Britain experienced 50 consecutive days with no rain.

Heathrow recorded the hottest June day in 41 years, when a temperature of 34.5C was recorded, while a temperature of 33.2C was recorded in Motherwell, Scotland on June 28.

England basked in its hottest ever summer on record this year while the UK as a whole saw its joint-hottest.

Sea surface temperatures were at near-record levels following the hot weather and globally, the last four years were the four hottest on record.

Earths average surface temperature has already increased 1°C since pre-industrial times due to man made emissions.

Sunbathers relax on Hampstead Heath in London on July 26, 2018. - Britain has been in the grip of its longest heatwave in decades, sparking wildfires in northwest England, water restrictions in Northern Ireland and record-breaking temperatures in Scotland. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Sunbathers relax on Hampstead Heath during the summer heatwave in July, 2018 (Picture: AFP/Getty)

The Beast from the East

Heavy snow, freezing temperatures and blizzards saw the UK gripped by the so-called Beast from the East last March.

Polar scientists warn more weather events like the Beast From the East will occur as climate change worsens.

With the worlds current carbon emissions, unusual weather patterns like the extreme cold which spread from Europe across the UK will be more frequently expected.

Professor Martin Siegert, a glaciologist at Imperial College London, last year told the Evening Standard that these weather events will become more common as the Earth heats up.

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What we can say is that the extreme weather events we are witnessing are completely in line with climate change – extreme heat, flooding, cold, he said.

METRO

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