The effect of climate change on the UK

Climate change is a global issue that will impact every aspect of the UK’s economy, society and environment, threatening our well being and that of our children. We have already seen more intense extreme weather events such as dangerous heat waves; floods and coastal erosion; storms; wildfires; droughts; and severe declines in species biodiversity (on Earth and in the oceans). Unless we take action to reduce CO2 emissions now, these effects will become more likely and have a greater impact when they occur.

The United Kingdom Climate Projections was published in June 2009 and is the most comprehensive report of its kind ever produced. It shows that in the UK we face warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, with more drought, more intense heat waves, flooding and sea level rise.

In future, rainfall could significantly decrease in the summer (particularly in the south east) and significantly increase in the winter (particularly in the north west). Heavier winter rainfall is expected to become more frequent, potentially causing more flooding.

The sea-level rise across the UK is projected to be between 20cm and 80cm by 2100. In the worst case scenario, rises of up to 1.9 metres are possible (albeit highly unlikely).

The summer heat wave experienced in 2003 (which resulted in over 2,000 extra deaths in the UK and over 35,000 extra deaths across Europe) is likely to become a normal event by the 2040s or the 2050s. By the 2060s or 2070s, the intense temperatures of 2003 could become the average temperature experienced throughout much of Europe. Extreme weather events are expected to place increased pressure on emergency services and Government.

Rate this page


The global effects of climate change

Around the globe climate change will affect rainfall patterns, cause snow and ice to melt and affect the intensity of extreme weather