The impacts of climate change for UK

Climate change is a slow process and the signs of climate change are often difficult to pick out from the underlying variability of the natural climate.
However, some researches argue that climate change may already have had an effect on the climate in the UK.

The forecast impacts of climate change from the UKCP09 report suggest that the UK will experience (Jenkins, et al., 2009):

  • Annual warming of 1.2 to 6.8 by 2080
  • Greater warming in summer and autumn than spring and winter.
Change in mean annual temperature (°C) with respect to the 1961-90 mean for thirty-year periods centred on the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s for the UKCIP98 scenarios (Hulme and Jenkins, 1998).
The UKCIP98 scenarios were prepared for the UK Climate Impacts Programme. The four scenarios (low, medium-low, medium-high and high emissions) span a range of future global warming rates from 0.1° to 0.3° C per decade.
Source: Climate Research Unit. University of East Anglia
  • Winter precipitation could increase by more than 20% by the 2080s
  • By contrast, in summer, central and southern UK could be much dryer than it is now with up to 18% less rainfall by 2080s. However northern England and Scotland is likely to  experience the double impact of both wetter summers and wetter winters.
Change in mean summer rainfall (percentage change) with respect to the 1961-90 mean for thirty-year periods centred on the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s for the UKCIP98 scenarios (Hulme and Jenkins, 1998).
The UKCIP98 scenarios were prepared for the UK Climate Impacts Programme. The four scenarios (low, medium-low, medium-high and high emissions) span a range of future global warming rates from 0.1° to 0.3° C per decade.
Source: Climate Research Unit. University of East Anglia
  • Decrease in snowfall
  • More frequent winter storms
  • More intense winter rainfall
  • Increase in number of very hot days
  • Decrease in number of very cold days, with reduction in heating days
  • Lengthening of thermal growing season
  • Absolute sea level rise of 93 to 190 cm by 2100
  • Increase in sea surface temperature
  • Significant reduction in storm surge return periods for some locations.

Hulme, M. and Jenkins, G.J. (1998). http://www.ukcip.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/PDFs/UKCIP02_briefing.pdf, Climatic Research Unit, Norwich

Jenkins, G.J., Murphy, J.M., Sexton, D.S., Lowe, J.A., Jones, P. and Kilsby, C.G. (2009) UK Climate Projections: Briefing report, Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK.

Part of the text of the present post are reproduced with the permission of De Montfort University, being part of the MSc in Climate Change and Sustainable Development run by IESD

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