A new survey by the BBC has found that the number of days the temperature has topped 50 degrees centigrade has nearly doubled over the last 40 years.

The global study found that between 2010 and 2019 the temperature topped 50 degrees on 26 days on average. Between 1980 and 1990 that figure was just 14 days.

Have you looked outside? It’s pouring.

It’s fair to say that Scotland has never been that warm. The highest temperature ever recorded in Scotland was 32.9C in Greycrook in the Scottish Borders back in 2003. The highest temperature in Scotland this year was 27.2C in Tyndrum in August. But this past summer has been the fourth hottest on record in Scotland.

Where is it getting hotter?

The extreme heat predominantly happens in the Middle East and the Gulf regions, though both Nevada in the US and parts of North Africa have recorded temperatures above 50C in the last 40 years.

So, we’re just unlucky?

I’m not sure that’s the way to see it. When the temperature tops 50C it can cause huge problems for our health and way of life.

And given that Italy this summer recorded temperatures of nearly 49C scientists fear that extreme heat will continue to be a growing problem for us. “Europe will need to prepare for the eventuality of further records being broken with temperatures above 50C being possible in Europe in future, most likely close to the Mediterranean where the influence of hot air from North Africa is strongest,” the Met Office’s Peter Stott suggested earlier this year.

What impact can 50C heat have on humans?

The World Health Organisation has said that the optimum air temperature for the human body is between 18C and 24C. When the temperature begins to rise the body has to produce more and more sweat. In extreme heat it can struggle to cool itself down, leading to the threat of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can lead to damage to vital organs or even death.

Ah. Quite serious then.

Very much so. It also has consequences for our infrastructure. Buildings and roads can be damaged by extreme heat, and perversely the hotter it gets the greater the demand on energy supply to power our air conditioning.

It can also increase the risk of droughts and wildfires and may lead to greater desertification.

So, is this the fault of climate change?

Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford believes so. "The increase can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels," he told the BBC.

A lot for this year’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this November to think about.

It hopefully will concentrate some minds.