UK Climate Projections 2009


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Presentation by Daniel Barwick (Defra) to the third sector event on the UK Climate Projections tools.
Defra's Innovation Centre
28 July 2009

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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  • [Slide 1 – UK Projections 2009]   Welcome.   Like to talk about the Projections, what they tell us, and how we should react.
  • [Slide 2]
  • [Slide 3] The Projections give information on current and future climate change for the UK, up to 2099 over both land and sea. More details about how produced and what they say to follow. First, put the Projections in the wider policy context. Their launch kick started a big push on climate change – towards Copenhagen in December. Ministers will this summer set out the building blocks of a ‘five point plan’ designed both to reduce emissions at home and abroad and to protect and prepare for the changes that are already inevitable Gov is taking action on 5 fronts: 1 – Protecting the public from immediate risk 2 – preparing for the future 3 – securing an international agreement to limiting global temperature increase to 2 degress at Copenhagen in December, by aiming for decade and be at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 4 – by setting an example, by building a low carbon UK (The 2008 Climate Change Act made Britain the first country in the world to set legally binding “carbon budgets”, aiming to cut UK emissions by 34% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 through investment in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies such as renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage). 15 JULY ANNOUNCEMENT - UK low carbon transition plan published 5 – supporting individuals, communities and businesses in playing their part   Projections really help to make the case for government domestic and international climate change policies – they show us what the future could be like if we don’t change, and how we do need to prepare for changes that are inevitable due to past emissions. They really do bring home the reality of a changing climate for people in the UK Key point as well is that adaptation and mitigation are not separate.  
  • [Slide 4: What are the Projections?]   UK Climate Projections 2009 - the most comprehensive package of future climate information to be made available for the UK to date. They are a great new bit of evidence – UK through the Met office are world leaders in this Give information on current and future climate change for the UK, up to 2099 over both land and sea, based on three different emissions scenarios (more info on that to follow)     We are making available thousands of maps at national and regional level showing temperature, rainfall and sea level rise   Four times more detail than we have ever had before – down to 25km grid squares. Can do this because it takes into account local topography. So, for example, we can now differentiate between climate of Exmoor and Dartmoor For the first time they quantify uncertainty, and show us the probability of the various outcomes.  
  • [Slide 5: What are they based on (emissions)?]   The projections show us a range of futures based on 3 emissions scenarios developed by the UN Panel on Climate Change, shown on this graph.   The high emissions scenario is based on a fossil fuel reliant economy   The medium scenario is based on a mix of fossil fuel and new lower carbon technologies;   The low scenario is based on a higher use of new technologies.   Climate change committee say we’re closest to the medium emissions scenario at the moment – but we could be on a higher pathway. The Committee on Climate Change used the medium scenario in its analysis published in December 2008 because it was consistent with current levels of global emissions, as well as forecasts of future emissions by other independent forecasters, for example, the International Energy Agency. The black dotted line on this graph shows how emissions would need to change to achieve the 2 degree temperature rise limit. By urgently and rapidly reducing emissions, by for example reaching a peak in global emissions in 2016 and achieving a 4% decrease per year thereafter, a global temperature rise to 1.8°C by 2050 is expected, but this would then stabilise at about 2°C by 2100, avoiding many of the more severe impacts of climate change
  • [Slide 6: What are they based on (cont)?]   The graph shows that relative to pre-industrial levels (1750) we have already seen a 1 degree rise globally.   But that’s just the start. We have a stark warning: we are heading for a world where temperature increases could be between 4 to 6 degrees higher globally (relative to pre-industrial levels)   Nothing short of a global catastrophe
  • [Slide 7: What are they based on (cont)?]   This why we must get a deal at Copenhagen – which will put us onto the black line.   But whatever happens in the future we are locked-in to 30-40 years of warming and this is what we have to adapt to.
  • [Slide 8: Summer Average Temperature] The projections give us figures for the coming century, with various emissions scenarios and probability levels.   But now I want to show you what the projections tell us we can expect by the 2080s if we stay on our current path according to the Committee on Climate Change – the medium emissions path    So, let’s look at what the sort of future we might face by the 2980’s:   2 to 3 degree rise in temperature in Northern Scotland 3-4 degree increase in the north 4-5 degree increase in the south The number of hot days with temps exceeding 25 degrees C could increase from 15 to 76 days per year   The numbers don’t always look huge but the effects will be - go to next slide  
  • [Slide 9: How significant are these increases?]   The black line shows climate data to date   The red line the projected temperature rise to the end of the century   But these record temperatures are likely to be become common by the 2040s and they’ll seem cool by the 2060s.   The summer of 2003 was a 1.8 degree rise which caused many deaths across Europe (35,000 excess) and the UK (2,000 excess) . So there are significant impacts for a relatively small temperature increase .
  • [Slide 10: Summer rainfall]   Rainfall: significant decrease in rainfall across the UK particularly in the South East. Increase in winter rainfall particularly in the North West. Overall annually rainfall isn’t expected to alter that much across the UK, but of course there are big issues about how the water falls in heavier bursts, what season it falls in and how you capture the water, how you use it from one season to the next etc. Summer rainfall: Through the decades you see significant decreases in summer rainfall, By the 2080’s: 10-20% decrease in rain in the north 20-30% decrease in rain in the south east 30-40% decrease in rain in the south west Up to 50% reduced stream flow projected in the South East – this would have a significant impact on the supply of water   Thames water draws most of its water from rivers - affecting 8 million customers   The UK already has less available water per person than most other European countries with the south east having less per person than Syria.
  • [Slide 11: Winter rainfall]   10-20% increase in winter rain in most of the UK   20-30% increase in winter rain in South Wales and Central England   But, in the Cairngorms, we are anticipating a possible decrease in winter precipitation   By the 2080’s the wettest day of the year could see up to 31% more rainfall in the north – increasing the flood risk  
  • [Slide 12: Sea level rise – London]   Central estimates for sea-level rise; take account of land movement. One of the things that was asked of UKCIP when they were taking on this work was to model a higher scenario that takes account of glacial melt etc and there we see the sea level rise of 2meters by the end of the century.   On our current path sea level rise in London would be over a foot by 2080   In 2007 a North Sea surge came to just 4 inches below the top of most of the sea walls at Great Yarmouth   In the worse-case scenario we would need to build a new Thames barrier at Southend – with a cost of £20 billion
  • [Slide 13: What are the likely impacts for the UK and globally]   Highlights some of the changes that the UK and the wider world may experience as global temperatures rise The impacts for the UK are likely to be significant but will be even greater globally. Temperature increases of 3 degrees could see flooding of low-lying areas, put extreme pressure on the availability of water in Africa, pose significant risks to the rainforest and cause the loss of arctic permafrost.  
  • [Slide 14: What are we doing already?]   So we need to plan now for the impacts on the UK – we have made a start but there is much more to do   The NHS now has have a heatwave plan in place - and saw the heat health watch warning come in to action just a couple of weeks ago. The Heat-Health Watch system comprises four levels of response based upon threshold maximum daytime and minimum night-time temperatures. These thresholds vary by region. Level three, for example, requires social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups. All new national infrastructure has to take account of climate change mitigation and adaptation as part of the Planning Act, as well as right the way through the planning system   We have changed road design standards and working on building bigger drains and opening up central reservation gaps (so cars can turn round if the road is flooded)   And in schools we are developing new standards of ventilation and shading. This school in Islington is an excellent example of what we’re doing already. It ha been designed with the future climate in mind ensuring it remains a healthy, comfortable learning environments. It’s building in climate data in to building design to avoid retrofitting of energy-intensive air conditioning at a future date.   And action now on such buildings costs less - it could be 10-20% more expensive to retrofit than design at beginning
  • [Slide 15: What are the opportunities?]   Indeed a key principle from the Stern Review was to minimise future costs by maximising opportunities now. And changing climate will bring some opportunities   There might be less need for winter heating – helping cutting energy use as long as demand is not then passed to increased summer air conditioning   Or longer growing seasons and different crops, and opportunities in engineering and tourism.  
  • [Slide 16: The Governments Adapting to Climate Change Programme]   First of: the Programme is a major investment by Defra staff and programme resource. Team in Defra leads and co-ordinates the Programme, but is a cross-Government Programme, all central Government Departments are involved. Our Programme has four elements: the framework, the evidence, raising awareness and taking action. Priorities to date have been framework and evidence On the Framework: we have the Climate Change Act – the Reporting power, Adaptation Sub-Committee, Indicators, NI188 Government Programme, Green Book , OGC Evidence/support: UK Projections, National Risk Assessment, Cost benefit analysis, UKCIP , Statutory Guidance Awareness Raising: Partnership Board, Projections in Practice events, region and local action Overall: key role for Defra in research, support, case studies etc A lot has already been achieved by the programme. 2009 is a key year for linking work already undertaken to the long term statutory framework.
  • [Slide 17: Adaptation reporting power] Bit more detail on this, as is out for consultation right now.   The act defines the sorts of bodies that the Government can direct as: bodies with ‘functions of a public nature’ – for example regulators, health authorities ‘ statutory undertaker’ - for example utilities companies. These reports should contain. An Environmental Risk Assessment A programme of measures for adaptation A process that will allow the body to evaluate its progress and monitor the effectiveness of the adaptation measures Four criteria to identify reporting authorities: Current vulnerability to climate change Responsible for national infrastructure Not covered by existing comprehensive regulation relating to adaptation. Targeting sectors at the appropriate level.   These criteria have been applied across all public bodies and statutory undertakers to produce a list of roughly 110 reporting authorities.
  • [Slide 18]   If we don’t adapt – here is an example of Gloucester Football Club – still unusable 2 years later   And look what will happen to temperatures in other parts of the world   We could face problems of food security, conflict, and migration. What happen internationally affects us directly.   So the messages from the Projections are stark.   Cutting global greenhouse gas emissions is vital to reduce long-term climate change impacts on the UK – the more successfully we move to a low carbon economy the less climate change we will need to adapt to. It shows us just how important that deal in Copenhagen will be.   Cutting emissions is not enough. The Projections underline the pressing need to adapt to the inevitable climate change we already face and act accordingly.      
  • UK Climate Projections 2009

    1. 1. UK Climate Projections 2009 Daniel Barwick Defra
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Context – Government plan on climate change </li></ul><ul><li>UKCP09: what are they? </li></ul><ul><li>UKCP09: the future for the UK </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts and Action </li></ul><ul><li>The Government programme on adapting to climate change </li></ul>
    3. 3. UK Projections part of five point plan on climate change <ul><li>Protect the economy, people and the environment from immediate risk </li></ul><ul><li>Preparing for the future – Projections are key to this </li></ul><ul><li>Limit further dangerous change - achieve international agreement at Copenhagen in December </li></ul><ul><li>Seize opportunities for UK and build a low carbon economy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help individuals, communities and businesses to play their part </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. What are the Projections? <ul><li>Produced by Met Office </li></ul><ul><li>A range of futures – 3 emission scenarios up to 2099 </li></ul><ul><li>Probabilities – not a weather forecast </li></ul><ul><li>Maps of the UK for: </li></ul><ul><li>Temperature </li></ul><ul><li>Rainfall </li></ul><ul><li>Sea level </li></ul><ul><li>on a 25 x 25 km grid </li></ul>
    5. 5. What emissions scenario are they based on? GHG Increase GtCO2e <ul><li>IPCC Emission Scenarios </li></ul><ul><li>High </li></ul><ul><li>Medium </li></ul><ul><li>Low </li></ul><ul><li>World Stabilisation Scenario </li></ul>
    6. 6. What emissions scenario are they based on? Temp Rise degC Global Average Temperatures Where we are heading IPCC Emission Scenarios High Medium Low
    7. 7. What are they based on? Where we need to be Temp Rise degC Global Average Temperatures Some change is certain
    8. 8. Summer average temperature 3 to 4ºC increase 4 to 5ºC increase 2 to 3ºC increase South-East England central estimate Medium emissions But we could see 5 times the number of very hot days & the hottest day of the year could be up to 10ºC higher Unlikely to be less than 2.0 0 C or greater than 6.4 0 C for SE 2080s
    9. 9. Summer Temperatures in context We are already committed to this from past emissions alone 35 000 people died across Northern Europe in the August heat-wave of 2003 – effective planning is essential Source Met Office Hadley Centre Observed temperatures Simulated temperatures 2040s 2060s 2003
    10. 10. Summer rainfall 20 to 30% decrease 30% to 40% decrease 10% to 20% decrease South West central estimate Medium emissions
    11. 11. Winter rainfall 10% to 20% increase 20% to 30% increase 0% to 10% decrease North West central estimate Medium Emissions But the wettest day of the year could see up to 31% more rainfall in the North
    12. 12. Sea level rise – London High++ scenario: 2100 Rises up to 1.9 meters Central Estimate Worst Case
    13. 13. Our approach to dealing with impacts is about managing risk across the economy, it is not a ‘green’ issue
    14. 14. What are we doing already?
    15. 15. What are the opportunities?
    16. 16. Government programme on adapting to climate change Departmental Adaptation plans
    17. 17. Adaptation Reporting Power <ul><li>Key sectors to report on the impacts to them of climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Primary lever for Govt </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation happening now </li></ul>Energy Water Electronic communications Emergencies Health & social care Transport Environment Current Vulnerability to Climate Change Responsible for National Infrastructure No Existing Comprehensive Regulation Relating to Adaptation
    18. 18. Key messages <ul><li>The costs of failing to adapt will be high </li></ul><ul><li>Global deal at Copenhagen is critical </li></ul>