UK weather and climate extremes: the impacts for

Climate Extremes in the UK:
The impacts for business
Professor Stephen Belcher
Head of Met Office Hadley Centre
© Crown copyright Met Office
The climate is changing
Is the world warming?
Changes in the atmosphere, cryosphere and ocean
show unequivocally that the world is warming
Is it due to human activity?
It is extremely likely (95% certainty) that human
influence is responsible for more than half of the
warming since 1950
What does it mean for us in the UK?
What can we say about climate events in UK?
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UK Extremes:
Too hot
Summer 2003 Temperatures
• UKCP09:
On average summers become hotter & drier
• Heat waves in large parts of Europe are likely
to have increased since 1950
• Climate change doubled risk of temperatures
seen in Europe in 2003
• Continuing on track for 2003 to be
norm in Europe by 2040s
Summer 2003 Impacts:
• 2,000 excess UK deaths
• Strain on infrastructure
• Crop failure and livestock death
• Transport network disruption
• Closure of nuclear power plants
• Increased UK tourism
© Crown copyright Met Office
UK Extremes:
Too cold
• UKCP09:
On average winters warmer and wetter
• But, large natural fluctuations in UK climate:
location of jetstream
• 20-30% chance of cold winters until 2020s
• Need to adapt to broader envelope
Winter 2010/11 Impacts:
• Strain on emergency services
• Transport networks and utilities impacted
• Closure of Heathrow for 2 days
• Retail industry affected
• Reduced GDP by ~0.5%
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More warm winters
but natural variability
means still have cold
UK Extremes:
Too wet
• Human influence on heavier rainfall
has been detected around world
• Evidence that heavy downpours
increase more rapidly in warmer
Expect more
intense rainfall
• Large natural fluctuations in UK
summer rainfall accumulation
• 35% chance of wet summer until
Winter 2013/14 Impacts:
• 6000 properties flooded
• Transport networks disrupted
• Agriculture and livestock impacted
• Coastal erosion
• Power losses
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Wet summers continue due to
climate natural variability
UK Extremes:
Too dry
• UKCP09:
On average summers hotter and drier
• No clear evidence of climate change on
dry seasons in the UK
• UK experiences impacts through
economic and trade links: Texas heat
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Hotter, drier
• Climate is changing
• Probability of some extreme events increases
• Heat waves, heavy rainfall events, coastal flooding
• Must be seen in context of UK’s natural variability:
• Multi-decadal variability in summer rainfall
• Oscillations in winter jet stream position: keep cold winters
• Need to be resilient to broader range of conditions
• Climate Services to help detect vulnerability and plan resilience
© Crown copyright Met Office
“The Met Office Hadley Centre…represents a critical national capability with a
central role of meeting the Government’s requirements for climate evidence and
advice” Sir John Beddington GCSA

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