Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summers in the UK will be like the Mediterranean

Catherine Jacob in Sky News: UK Climate Impacts Report predicts extremes of temperature will hit the UK if global temperatures continue to rise. The report is the Met Office's most comprehensive assessment yet of what might happen by the middle to end of the century.

The head of climate predictions at the Met Office, James Murphy, told Sky News Online: "Certainly we would expect much warmer wetter winters to be part of the story and also a risk of drier summers. "The report will confirm some of the broad storylines that have emerged before. However, what it does for the time is to quantify the risks associated with different levels of change."

The Met Office climate experts used their software to run 400 different computer models. They wanted to understand the range of future climate changes the UK might have to deal with over the next 100 years. The Met Office came up with three scenarios - low, medium and high - depending on how much carbon we emit over the next century.

…Even the medium climate predictions are gloomy - for example, in 2003, more than 30,000 people, and perhaps as many as 70,000, died in a Europe-wide heatwave. The report warns that even if we can constrain global temperature rise to 2C, such record temperatures could occur every other year.

Under the worst possible scenario, temperatures could rise by up to 8C by 2080. The consequences of that would be catastrophic. With 75% of the UK's land given over to agriculture, farmers will be among those most affected by changes….

The Bardenas desert in Navarre, Spain. Will this be the fate of England's green and pleasant land? Shot by Flipao, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License

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