Today (18th June) the UK Climate Projections 2009 report (UKCP09) was launched by Hilary Benn MP (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The primarily Defra-funded report allows us to understand how the UK’s climate (temperature, rainfall, sea-level, humidity, cloud, and radiation), marine and coastal environments (sea level rise, storm surge, sea surface and sub-surface temperature, salinity, currents, and waves) will change during the 21st century. The Met Office, who led the study, has used the latest climate science to develop the projections, which also indicate the probability of any changes. The BBC reported the UK Met Office, as saying the UKCP09 is the “most comprehensive set of probabilistic climate projections at the regional scale compiled anywhere in the world”.
Results are provided for three different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios (high, medium and low) and for seven time periods up to 2099. The information will allow companies, local governments and Government bodies to plan for change and develop a resilient infrastructure.
The key findings from UKCP09 are as follows:
• All areas of the UK get warmer, and the warming is greater in summer than in winter.
• There is little change in the amount of precipitation (rain, hail, snow etc) that falls annually, but it is likely that more of it will fall in the winter, with drier summers, for much of the UK.
• Sea levels rise, and are greater in the south of the UK than the north.
Hilary Benn said “There is no doubt about it – climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world today. Climate change is already happening – the hottest ten years on record globally have all been since 1990. This landmark scientific evidence shows not only that we need to tackle the causes of climate change but also that we must deal with the consequences.”