Global warming is leading to increasing temperatures across Earth, and experts are investigating how this will affect high-impact weather in the UK. A recent study published in the journal Climatic Change concludes that higher levels of global warming will lead to an increase in the frequency of extremely hot days, droughts, and floods.
The researchers used simulations from the ‘Regional Climate Model’ to lead to these conclusions. The study has shown that at a global warming level of 1.5°, the UK can expect an annual increase of at least five days over 25°C and a decrease in at least 10 days of temperatures under 0°C.
With an increased global warming rate of 4.0°C, figures would subsequently lead to up to 39 additional hot days and a decrease in up to 49 days of sub-zero temperatures.
These temperature changes would directly correlate with an increase in frequency and severity of long-term droughts and up to seven additional days every year of prolonged rainfall, which would likely result in damaging flooding in the UK.
“Our research clearly shows that the more we warm the planet through human-induced climate change, the more severe weather we can expect in the UK. Severe weather can impact us in a number of ways, from our health, to flooding, food availability and transport issues,” said lead author Dr. Helen Hanlon.
Despite the bleak findings of the study, a glint of hope remains. According to Dr. Hanlon, “the paper shows that the increase in high-impact weather is reduced if global warming is kept as low as possible, showing that efforts to reduce human-induced climate change will curb the most severe impacts of future weather in the UK.”
However, with changes evident at even 1.5°C of global warming this is a reminder that even with the most optimistic global emissions mitigation scenarios, there is still a need for adaptation, long-term planning, and risk assessment activities across sectors in the UK.
“This study provides part of the picture for what our future weather and climate may look like,” noted Professor Jason Lowe. “Crucially it sits alongside other studies, such as those examining the risks from wildfire and floods, helping to create as full a vision of the future as possible. The more insight we have on our future world, the more opportunity there is to plan for it.”
The research has recently been comprehensively cited in the UK’s third Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), compiled by the Climate Change Committee.