Most detailed picture yet of UK's future climate
26 Nov 2018



The UK’s most comprehensive picture yet of how the climate could change over the next century has been launched.


​UK Climate Projections 2018 

Credit: STFC RAL Space

Whole-sky view of clouds on a sunny day from Chilbolton ObservatoryUsing the latest science from the Met Office and around the world, the UK Climate Projections 2018 illustrate a range of future climate scenarios until 2100 – showing increasing summer temperatures, more extreme weather and rising sea levels are all on the horizon and urgent international action is needed.

UKCP18 can now be used as a tool to guide decision-making and boost resilience – whether that's through increasing flood defences, designing new infrastructure or adjusting ways of farming for drier summers. It can also help homes and businesses plan for the future, the results set out a range of possible outcomes over the next century based on different rates of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The data archive and user interface for UKCP18 has been provided by the STFC's Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA) and Scientific Computing Department. The user interface provides a web-tool that allows anyone from policy makers to businesses and individuals to select maps and graphs for a large range of possible future scenarios.

The multi-terabyte archive of observations as well as land and marine projections is available via the CEDA Catalogue and is supported by the environmental supercomputer, JASMIN, to ensure that the service can respond to a large volume of requests from users across public, private and research sectors.

Met Office Chief Scientist Stephen Belcher said: “The new science in UKCP18 enables us to move from looking at the trends associated with climate change, to describing how seasonal weather patterns will change. For example, heatwaves like the one we experienced in the summer of 2018 could be normal for the UK by mid-century."

Sea levels are projected to rise over the 21st century and beyond under all emission scenarios – meaning we can expect to see an increase in both the frequency and magnitude of extreme water levels around the UK coastline. Even in the low emission scenario, the projections show the UK's average yearly temperature could be up to 2.3 °C higher by the end of the century.

The UK already leads the world in tackling climate change – with emissions reduced by more than 40 % since 1990. However these projections show a future we could face without further action.

Today's projections are the first major update of climate projections in nearly 10 years, building on the success of UKCP09 and ensuring the most up-to-date scientific evidence informs decision-making. 

While it is not possible to give a precise prediction of how weather and climate will change years into the future, UKCP18 provides a range of outcomes that capture the spread of possible future climates, so we can develop and test robust plans.  

People and businesses will be able to use UKCP18 to explore the types and magnitude of climate change projected for the future, while government will use the projections to inform its adaptation and mitigation planning and decision-making.

UKCP18 has been developed by the Met Office Hadley Centre, in partnership with Defra, BEIS, the Devolved Administrations and the Environment Agency, and has been extensively peer reviewed by an independent science panel. STFC's CEDA and Scientific Computing Department worked with the Met Office to deliver cutting-edge web services, providing access to the latest update to the climate projections for the UK.

Image: Cloud image captured at the Chilbolton Observatory at 11:00am on Monday 26th November 2018. Credit: STFC RAL Space