UK climate report forecasts droughts and floods

Posted: 18 June 2009

A series of projections on how Britain will be affected by climate change are published today by the UK government and the Met Office. These show that average temperatures are expected to rise by 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 and to between 3-5C by the 2080s.

The results, which are broken down into local areas, 25 km across, show that the South-East of England will warm more than the north. Overall, says the report the amount rain and snow will not be greatly changed, but rainfall in summer could be reduced by half, with more winter rain. As a result summer droughts and winter floods are likely to be more common.

Flooding UK
Flooding UK
Climate change may increase the volume and intensity of rainfall and flooding in the UK.
The hotter summer weather could kill an extra 2,800 people a year, but the milder winters could prevent up to 20,000 cold-related deaths. There is also likely to be an effect on crops with better yields of winter wheat but declines in oil seed rape.

There will also be effects on transport, energy supplies and sea rise (more evident in the south than the north). But the Thames barrier is expected to continue to protect London from massive flooding.

Species of birds and butterflies may move northwards and white sharks could become regular visitors.

Big emission cuts needed

Reacting to today's UK Climate Projections 2009, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director, Andy Atkins welcomed "this extremely valuable report". "It is" he said, "an important wake-up call on the need for urgent action to slash emissions.

"Climate change will have a major impact on the UK - and this will be devastating if the world fails to move rapidly towards a low-carbon future.

"The UK Government must show real global leadership ahead of December's crucial UN climate summit by agreeing to cut our emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020 - without any offsetting - and ensuring that tackling global warming is at the heart of every policy.

"Local councils have a key role to play too - this means rapidly cutting their emissions, as well as action to adapt to the impacts that are warned of in this stark report.

"Investing in solutions such as cutting energy waste and developing renewable power will also create tens of thousands of new green jobs, end fuel poverty and help create a cleaner, safer future for us all."

Click here to access the Met Office website with details of how local sections of the report can be found and a video on the science behind the report.