UKCP18 – Climate projections for the UK – 2018

U.K. climate change information
UKCP18

The UK climate is changing and further changes are inevitable. 

The UK Met Office has just published its UKCP18 report (26 November 2018), the first major update to the UK’s climate projections for nearly 10 years.

UKCP18 provides the most up to date, peer-reviewed scientific evidence on projected climate changes directly affecting the UK.

The report is part of the Met Office Hadley Centre Climate Programme which is supported by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Data up to 2017

Temperatures

  • The average UK temperature during 2008-2017 was 0.3ºC warmer than the average for 1981-2010, and 0.8ºC warmer than the average for 1961-1990. Nine of the ten warmest years have occurred since 2002.
  • The Central England Temperature Dataset, (recording temperatures since 1772), shows that the average UK temperature during 2008-2017 was around 1.0ºC warmer than during the pre-industrial period (1850-1900). This figure agrees with estimates of global temperature increases during these periods.
  • The average hottest day of the year during 2008-2017 was 0.1ºC warmer than during 1981-2010, and 0.8ºC warmer the during 1961-1990.

Rainfall

  • The average rainfall during 2008-2017 was 4% greater than during 1981-2010.
  • Summers in the UK during 2008-2017 were on average 17% wetter than during 1981-2010, and 20% wetter the during 1961-1990.
  • The total rainfall on extremely wet days during 2008-2017 was 17% greater than during 1961-1990. These changes were greatest in Scotland and not significant in southern and eastern England.

Sea level

  • Mean sea level around the UK has risen by around 16 cm since 1900.

Projections from 2018 onwards

Temperatures

  • By the end of the 21st century all parts of the UK are projected to be warmer, more so in summer than in winter.
  • If high greenhouse gas emissions continue, by 2070 the range of projected temperature increases amounts to 0.9º – 5.4ºC in summer, and 0.7º – 4.2ºC in winter. 
  • Hot summers are expected to be more common. During the period 1981-2000 the chance of seeing a summer as hot as that experienced in 2018 was <10%. At the moment the chance is 10-20%, and by 2050 it is expected to be c. 50%.

Rainfall

  • If high greenhouse gas emissions continue, by 2070 projected rainfall will change by -47% to + 2% in summer, and -1% to +35% in winter.

Sea level

  • The rise in sea level around the UK is not uniform – less in the north and more in the south. This is mainly due to movement of land up and down.
  • For London, if high levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, by 2100 sea level rise is projected to be 0.53 m to 1.15 m. With low levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the rise is projected to be 0.29 m to 0.70 m.
  • For Edinburgh, if high levels of greenhouse gas emissions continue, by 2100 sea level rise is projected to be 0.30 m to 0.90 m. With low levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the rise is projected to be 0.08 m to 0.49 m.
  • Projections up to 2300 show continued rises in sea level.

This report provides a useful indication of the effects of climate change at a relatively small scale – the UK – compared to global projections.

See Technology Update on climate change.

Email: david.border@davidborder.co.uk 

Website – David Border Consultancy:  https://www.davidborder.co.uk 

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