Temperature & sunlight

Temperature & Sunlight

Higher temperatures

As a result of climate change, the seasonal average temperatures will rise. Very hot days- those in the top 10 per cent of the seasonal temperature range  will not only be hotter than at present, but more common. By the 2080s, the hottest summer days could be up to 7 °C warmer than today. Because of their hard surfaces and the dense populations, cities are likely to face even hotter temperatures-  the ‘urban heat island’ effect.  This means that London may end up as much as 7 °C warmer  than the surrounding countryside. 

Extreme summer heat waves are likely to occur more often. Today we expect one day each summer to reach 31°C in the South East. By the 2080s as many as 10 days may reach or exceed this temperature, and at least one day will be as hot as 38.5 ° C.

Most traditionally constructed houses should cope well with hotter summers. This is because, their solid construction provides a large thermal mass that can buffer high and low temperatures. Solid wall masonry buildings have a high thermal mass, which responds very slowly to changes in air temperature.

Some other risks may result from higher temperatures especially in winter. Warmer and damper winters will make mould growth more likely especially in poorly ventilated buildings. The decline in cold winters may allow exotic pests such as termites to become established. 

Sunlight

The amount of sunlight is governed by the extent and frequency of cloud cover. Projections suggest that  South-East England could in future enjoy 3 per cent less sunlight in winter, but about 6 per cent more in spring and 9 per cent more in autumn. Summers in the South-East are already expeciencing 15 per cent more sunlight than was the average in the years from 1961 until 1990.

Blinds and shutters can be used to reduce solar gain through windows: many older buildings were originally equipped with shutters which have since been removed or no longer function. This way of dealing with daytime temperatures is common in hot climates. The shutters and curtains are drawn at sunrise and thrown open again at sunset.
 

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