Reflections on the UK ‘heat wave’

As you will know, especially if you live in the UK, we’re having an unusually hot spell at the moment. In some places, day time temperatures have risen to 30 degrees Celsius, which is certainly unusual. In my office, with at least three computers chugging away, it has been hotter than this by late afternoon most days this last week.

Looking at these weather conditions from the point of view of someone who has travelled to, and spent time in several countries that routinely experience these temperatures, is interesting. For example, just over a year ago I spent a week in Santa Fe, in New Mexico. It was easily as hot as it’s been here, but it was a dry heat (very low humidity in the desert!), and all the buildings had air conditioning. As a result I didn’t feel uncomfortable all week. Similarly, I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Aracaju (in North East Brazil) where such temperatures are common. Here there’s always a sea breeze, and of course, air conditioning almost everywhere. Such places are well-equipped for these conditions.

I like the sunshine, and indeed seem to function better generally when it’s sunny. But the kind of humidity that we get in the UK accompanying hot weather gives me real problems. Of course our homes and offices don’t generally have air conditioning, since these conditions are so unusual. But were this kind of weather to become more commonplace, it would be essential!

I’m using this relatively quiet time of the year to catch up on research and to tidy/organise my office. The conferences I’m attending this year are later in the summer, so now is a good opportunity to do these things. It’s a bit ironic that the current weather conditions are making it more difficult! It seems that with our weather you truly can’t win.

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