It's so hot, UK needs to start naming heatwaves like we do when it's a bit windy – climate boffins
FREE INSIDE: Your obscure keep-cool protips
The mercury is rising, expected to hit a sizzling 32°C (89.6°F) this afternoon at Vulture Central, and The Register's elite unit of pasty basement-dwellers, otherwise known as editorial, have scurried into the office to make the most of its semi-functioning air conditioning.
Yes, Heatwave Clive is here. Or it would be, if the London School of Economics has anything to say about it.
The Times – opting for the marginally more exciting "Alan" – reports that the university's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment has urged the Met Office to start naming particularly hot spells, just like the national weather watchers do when it's a bit windy out.
Pointing to a government report from last year suggesting the UK wasn't equipped to deal with the health risks posed by the exact sort of weather Brits go on holiday for, the institute thundered: "The Met Office must do more to warn people about the dangers of heatwaves and should give names to heatwaves the way it does for winter storms."
Currently on the list for storms are Ali, Bronagh, Callum, Deirdre, Erik, Freya, Gareth, Hannah, Idris, Jane, Kevin, Lily, Max, Niamh, Oliver, Peggy, Ross, Saoirse, Tristan, Violet and Wyn.
Q, U, X, Y and Z have proved a bit tricky, hence their omission.
The last to grace these shores was Storm Hannah over 26-27 April. But to the person on the street, giving each bout of shit weather a special name is baffling. Brits have been at peace with our inclement climate since, well... forever. And let's face it, none of these "storms" have quite the same life-threatening, property-destroying potential as, say, Hurricane Katrina, which battered Florida and Louisiana in 2005.
Speaking of Florida, where 22°C is considered cold, they're probably laughing at us (though that could equally be down to Boris Johnson's ascension to God Emperor). It's also forecast to be 32°C there this afternoon, standard for the time of year.
However, it isn't standard at all for the UK, which has an average maximum temperature of 20.4°C for July. The record high is 36.7°C – and there are fears that this could soar to 39°C tomorrow. But we're not the only country suffering. A plume of hot air from north Africa is heating all of Europe up to heretofore unseen levels. France baked in 45.9°C last month, and Germany is giving everyone the day off if it hits 40°C.
Get back to your desk. Don't expect the same largesse in Blighty. Instead, consider these obscure pro keep-cool tips infesting the media this week like investing in a fan! Maybe even aircon! Just don't make jokes about hot wives. What else? Using thin cotton sheets! Even better, put them in the freezer! For the professionals out there, consider wearing flipflops or sandals to work.
Meanwhile, Italy shrugged and said "eat four to five light meals a day". Clearly, a spot of sunshine has done little to dampen their love for food.
Sadly, these spates of searing temperatures – and weather patterns – do seem to be the most perceivable physical evidence of global warming yet for us mere mortals. You can fish out your Waterworld DVD to see what awaits us as the icecaps completely vanish. Best brush up on your swimming.
In the meantime, let's try to enjoy ourselves and take care of our elderly and wee ones – those who are most vulnerable to excessive heat. It's hotter here than in Turkey so you're saving thousands of pounds just sitting there.
Oh, our name for the heatwave? "Summer."