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New city centre weather station to help assess the impact of climate change

July 5, 2011 1:32 PM
Originally published by Birmingham Liberal Democrats

Councillor Paul Tilsley

"We need to understand how future weather events will affect people's health and the city's infrastructure," said Cllr Paul Tilsley.

A new weather station has been opened in Birmingham city centre to help scientists to discover more about climate change and extreme weather conditions in an urban environment. The city council's Environmental Partnership has teamed up with University of Birmingham, the West Midlands Climate Change Adaptation Partnership and the Met Office to develop the city centre station.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "The impact of climate change can already be seen in Birmingham with the average temperature increasing by 0.6oC over the last 30 years.

"We also know the 2003 heatwave saw temperatures top 38.5oC nationally, which caused over 2,000 excess deaths in the UK.

"Research already suggests these could be average summer temperatures by 2040 - so we need to understand how future weather events will affect people's health and the city's infrastructure, which is exactly what the weather station will enable us to do."

The new equipment will play a major part in measuring the Birmingham 'urban heat island', which has not been measured since the 1980s. Scientists hope that, by gaining greater insight into how weather and temperatures affect our city, this will help planners to better prepare for periods of extreme heat or other weather events that could dramatically affect the population and the city's infrastructure.