Kate Mackenzie UK’s turn for climate change effects-by-region forecast

Screenshot from Met Office interactive presentation

Screenshot from Met Office interactive presentation

A new UK study maps out how hotter weather and more floods and droughts could affect the country over the next 90 years.

The UK Met Office has launched an updated climate analysis tool, funded by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which forecasts the effects of climate change down to a 25 square kilometre range. Climate Projections 2009 makes estimates over three 30-year intervals. Rather like the US report launched earlier this week, it looks at specific industries as well as locations. But it is also a source of information for companies and government agencies wanting to take climate changes into account.

The BBC quotes Hilary Benn’s presentation to the House of Commons on the findings today:

By 2080, London will be between 2C and 6C hotter than it is now, he said.

Every part of the UK is likely to be wetter in winter and drier in summer, according to the projections.

Summer rainfall could decrease by about 20% in the south of England and in Yorkshire and Humberside by the middle of the century.

Scotland and the north-west of England could see winter rainfall increase by a similar amount

Anyone wanting to play around with complex data may be frustrated though. The Met Office has an interactive guide to basic projections by-region, but to get into all the actual data gathered in the £11m project, would-be users need to fill out a rather arduous registration form.

To get more of a sense of the data contained and how it will be used, the Met Office also summarises advice it has given to government agencies and companies in the past using its projections, and how they have responded. It is essentially a collection or previous Met office press releases about their consulting jobs, but some of the examples are rather striking:

For example, Anglian Water:

Our research showed the Anglian region will be subject to more extreme levels of rainfall under climate change. The company is now using this data to adapt their sewerage network towards new design standards, increasing the capacity for dealing with heavy rainfall. Similar changes in rainfall can be expected across many other parts of the UK as our climate changes, and the latest data from UKCP09 will provide even greater advice across the whole utilities sector.

And the Highways Agency:

Following our advice, the agency was able to identify extreme heat and heavy rainfall as the areas of greatest concern. They are now using this information, including the latest climate impacts data, to adapt planning activity to deal with storm water management and possible road surface melting.

The majority of the UK’s energy infrastructure, as the Met office said in December, is already prepared for the effects of climate change.

Related links:

Met Office: UK Climate Projections 2009
DEFRA: UK climate projections: UKCP09