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Note from Sam

Last July, I sat in a French airport alongside other disgruntled passengers awaiting an update about my delayed return flight to the UK. Stansted’s runway had fallen victim to the UK’s hottest ever weather (a balmy 40℃). And yet the prospect of even hotter weather this summer looks like a banker. Heat records now tumble what feels like every year.

New research suggests that this is part of a long-running trend of increasing heat extremes in north-west Europe. Matthew Patterson explains how he found that the region’s hottest days have warmed by around 0.6℃ per decade since 1960 – double the rate at which its average summer days have warmed. Not surprising then that the World Meteorological Organization is now predicting a 66% chance the crucial 1.5℃ global warming threshold will be crossed within the next five years.

More bad news if you’re a man who works shifts or otherwise has his natural sleep patterns disrupted. A new study shows men may be more vulnerable to the health consequences of having a misaligned body clock. I wouldn’t recommend using it as an excuse to avoid getting up to change the baby in the night though.

If all that’s put a dampener on your day, perhaps try reading about acts of kindness. Research suggests that such good news – such as people providing free veterinary care for stray animals – can counter the negative effects of reading about the bad.

Sam Phelps

Commissioning Editor, Environment

Canary Wharf, London. Nathaniel Noir/Alamy Stock Photo

Hottest days are warming twice as fast as average summer temperature in north-west Europe – new research

Matthew Patterson, University of Oxford

Hot days are getting hotter in north-west Europe – and the region is poorly equipped to cope.

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