Engineering for the future

The disruption to rail and air services caused by the present heatwave shows that our infrastructure in these islands was not designed for extreme heat, any more that it was designed for extreme cold.

The British Islands are firmly in the temperate zone of the world, courtesy that great oscillation, the Gulf Stream. No doubt that those who engineered our rail and air infrastructure built in some additional leeway to allow for extreme weather, but clearly they did not anticipate July temperatures of nearly 40° C on the railways or the violence of storms caused by such extreme heat.

If the temperatures continue to rise, as seems likely, and if the frequency of storms grows then much of what we build now will need to be re-adapted to cope with our future climate because what we build today will not be strong enough or well-designed enough for future use in a hotter,  colder and more stormy temperate part of the world.

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