Dr Robert Thompson from the University of Reading’s Department of Meteorology in the UK demonstrates the dangerous effect that heatwaves can have on the ground’s water uptake.
Filmed in the Harris Garden at the UK’s University of Reading, Thompson’s experiment shows that it takes far longer for ground during a heatwave to absorb water than an area that has received lots of rain.
Damp grass took nine seconds to absorb the water, moist grass (which was estimated to represent an average UK summer) took 52 seconds and grass at its peak level of parched in 2022 took approximately 15 minutes.
The water given to the parched grass was also prone to puddling on top of the ground, rather than being absorbed into it. By comparing these conditions, the university demonstrates why heavy rainfall after a drought can be hazardous and lead to flash flooding.