The Met Office has provided its first major update on climate change in almost a decade, and the results are significant.
Providing the most up-to-date assessment of how the UK may change over the course of the century as a result of climate change, the UK Climate Projections 2018 study has revealed that, under the highest-emissions scenario, summer temperatures in the UK could be 5.4C hotter by 2070.
This would mean that central locations in England, such as Nottingham, for example, would see temperatures rising between 1.1C and 5.8C. In Scotland, the summer temperature would rise by between 0.6C and 4.8C, in Wales the increase would be between 0.9C and 5.9C warmer, while in Northern Ireland, summer temperatures can be expected to increase between 0.8C and 4.9C.
According to the Met Office, this would only occur if the world was to continue increasing emissions of carbon dioxide rather than reducing them as most countries are trying to do.
Even in a low-emissions scenario, however, the Met Office states that the UK will still see an increase in the average yearly temperature of up to 2.3C by 2100.
Warm summers will be more common
What’s more, summers as warm as the one we have just experienced are also likely to become very common, with a 50% chance of occurring, compared to the current 15 – 20% chance.
In addition to being warmer, future summers are also likely to be significantly drier, with average summer rainfall dropping by an incredible 47% by 2070.
And it’s not just the summer months that will be affected, winters could also be warmer by up to 4.2C and are likely to see more rainfall, with levels increasing by up to 35% by 2070.
It is hoped that this latest report on the state of the climate will encourage governments, organisations, and individuals to take action and reduce their emissions in order to minimise the impact climate change will have on the planet.
In the meantime, we should also prepare for the likelihood of warmer, drier summers like the long hot summer of 2018 – maybe now’s a good time to kit our homes and workplaces with air con units to keep us cool!