UK Met Office warns of a changing climate’s cost to the economy, days before IPCC release

Clare Saxon Ghauri
26 March 2014

LONDON: The UK Met Office has warned that the country will see warmer, more extreme weather from climate change, in fresh analysis released this week.

The scientists who authored the report say UK weather will become wetter and milder in winter, and drier and hotter in summer in the long term, because of climate change. In the short term, the national weather service agency says the country will see very cold winters and wet summers.

Authors underscore how the changing weather conditions threaten supply chains and communities across the UK, citing tourism, retail, transport, health, agriculture, water, energy, insurance and infrastructure as areas that have been impacted by changing weather patterns and events such as flooding over the past few years.

Last winter was the wettest in England and Wales for at least 248 years, and loss prevention experts said the cost of clear-up to insurers could reach £1 billion (~US$1.7 billion) by 2014, according to the Met Office.

Suggesting the UK prepares to become more resilient to a changing climate, the report concludes: “[…] new observing systems and higher resolution computational models of the climate system coming online now are providing new insights that promise progress and the continuing improvement of UK adaptation advice.”


Image: 10, 50 and 90% probability levels of changes to the average daily mean temperature (ºC) of the winter by the 2080s, under the Medium (A1B) emissions scenario, from the Met Office report.

Beyond the UK, attention on the impacts of climate change on weather and temperatures is also increasing globally. Yesterday, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report revealing how 13 of the 14 warmest years ever recorded happened during this century.

WMO Secretary-General, Michel Jarraud, cautioned: “There is no standstill in global warming. Levels of these greenhouse gases are at record levels, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come.”

The UN and Met Office reports come as the world’s top climate scientists meet in Yokohama, Japan to discuss and release the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Working Group II report.

The report, which will focus on the effects a changing climate will have on resources, growth and security, follows last year's first part on the 'Physical Science Basis', which says humans are to blame for climate change.

The Climate Group published a five-part briefing series covering the basics of climate science before September’s IPCC release. Read them here.

Read the Met Office report

Related news:

As climate scientists gather in Japan, UN reports 2013 was sixth warmest year on record

EU Parliament agrees to back a stronger 30% renewable energy by 2030 target

Damian Ryan: COP19 keeps us on track for a climate deal in Paris, if countries use 2014 wisely

By Clare Saxon


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