Declare: Local weather change will result in extra droughts and extra frequent intense rains within the UK

Essay by Eric Worrall

Last month, the MET explained how global warming is causing more intense droughts. But the University of Bristol is now informing us that extreme downpours will become more frequent.

Intense downpours in UK set to increase due to climate change – new study

Published: Mar 8, 2023 3:58 am AEDT
Elizabeth Kendon
Professor of Climate Science, University of Bristol

In July 2021, Kew in London experienced a month of rain in just three hours. Tube lines were suspended and stations closed across the city as London experienced its wettest day in decades and flash floods hit. It happened again just under two weeks later: torrential downpours caused widespread disruption, including the flooding of two London hospitals.

Colleagues and I have created a new set of 100-year climate projections to more accurately estimate the likelihood of heavy downpours like these in the years and decades to come. The short answer is that climate change means these extreme downpours in the UK will be more frequent – and even more intense.

To create these projections, we used the Met Office operational weather forecast model, but work with long climate timescales. This provided very detailed climate projections – for every 2.2km grid box over the UK, for every hour, for 100 years from 1981 to 2080. These are much more detailed than traditional climate projections and had to be run as a series of 20 year simulations which were then stitched together became. Even on the Met Office’s supercomputer, it still took about six months to run.

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Earlier this year, the climate prediction was a little different;

Climate change, drought and water security

Posted on 2 February 2023 by the Met Office Press Office

Climate change and increasing heat droughts

In November 2022, the WMO released its first State of Global Water Resources report, which assessed the impacts of climate change, environmental and societal change on water resources. WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said at the time: “The impacts of climate change often come through water – more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme floods, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers – with cascading impacts on economies, ecosystems and all aspects of ours daily life. And yet there is an insufficient understanding of changes in the distribution, quantity and quality of freshwater resources.”

As the climate continues to change due to greenhouse gas emissions, we are seeing increasingly hot and dry conditions in the UK and globally. 2022 was recently confirmed as the hottest year on record in the UK with an average annual temperature above 10°C and this trend is expected to continue in the future. July 2022 was the driest month since 1935 for all of England and the driest on record for East Anglia, South East and South England, with the UK recording just 56% of its average rainfall that month. As a result, drought was declared in many parts of the UK by the Environment Agency in August 2022.

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Don’t forget folks, established science. For Britain’s sake, let’s hope that the more frequent intense rains brought on by global warming offset the increase in hotter, drier conditions caused by global warming.

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