The UK has experienced hot weather in the last couple of weeks, including breaking its record temperature today (Tuesday, July 19).

The provisional temperature of 39.1C at Charlwood, Surrey, beats the previous national record of 38.7C seen in Cambridge in July 2019.

Much of England and Wales are under a “red” extreme heat warning until the end of Tuesday, with the heat causing disruption on transport networks and the risk of serious health impacts.

It comes after the UK experienced its warmest night on record on Monday (July 18) as the extreme heat saw temperatures remaining in the mid-20s in some areas.

Despite this, comparisons have been made on social media to the heatwave experienced in the UK in 1976, which suggests the severity of the current hot weather is being exaggerated.

There are a few reasons why the heatwave 46 years ago is a bit different to what we're experiencing now.

How hot did it get in 1976?

BBC News reports that the peak temperature that year was 35.9C, which has already been beaten in 2022.

Additionally, the Met Office is forecasting temperatures to reach as high as 41C on Tuesday in some parts of eastern England.

BBC News said: "The heatwave was rare for that decade. The average maximum temperature in July in the 1970s was 18.7C. In the 2010s, it was more than 20C."

The heatwave experienced in the UK in 1976 was also a bit of an anomaly for the world, as nowadays they are occurring more frequently and becoming more intense.

Heat maps produced by NASA show the change in average temperatures from June 1976 to June 2022, which demonstrates how temperatures have gone up significantly around the world.

Prof Hannah Cloke, a climate scientist at the University of Reading said: "1976 was indeed a heatwave and we have had heatwaves before, but the point is they're happening more often and they're becoming more intense."

The Met Office estimates that this heatwave has been made ten times more likely because of climate change.

The overwhelming majority of scientists agree greenhouse gases - which trap the sun's heat - are causing a rise in global temperatures and climate change.

BBC News reported: "This has brought more extreme weather. Periods of intense heat do occur within natural weather patterns, but they are becoming more frequent around the world, more intense and are lasting longer as a result of global warming."