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Using Climate Projection data in your decision making

The 2018 climate projections are coming and will be published as open data. Find out what they are and how to register for updates here.

In recent years we have seen the impact of extreme weather events on communities in the UK. Multiple, successive storms meant that winter 2013/14 was the wettest in the Met Office’s records, flooding over 8,000 households. Then the winter of 2015/16 saw more storms and a record for UK rainfall over a 24-hour period, with 16,000 properties flooded across Northern Britain.

Carbon emissions are causing the climate to change, increasing the risks we face from some extreme events such as flooding. Warmer air carries more moisture, meaning heavier downpours. Heatwaves will become more intense and longer-lasting. Sea level rise means that high waves and surges during storms may be more likely to cause flooding and damage.

So that the UK is resilient to these changes, Government and business must factor weather and climate into their decisions. To support this, Defra is funding the Met Office to produce a new set of UK Climate Projections by 2018 (UKCP18) to show how the UK climate could change over this century.

UKCP18 outputs will include plausible ‘storylines’ of how the UK climate could change, ground breaking projections of rainfall at extremely high-resolution, and simulations of changes in storm surges. Using the Met Office’s latest climate model, UKCP18 will take advantage of their new high-performance supercomputer. The project will also publish the annual State of the UK Climate report, containing official UK climate statistics for the previous year.

UKCP18 will be part of the evidence base for the UK Government’s next Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), which is due in 2022 (the second CCRA was published this year). This will feed into the subsequent National Adaptation Programme, which shows how the UK is preparing for climate change.

It is important that UKCP18 provides products that are usable by decision-makers looking to build climate resilience into their policies and plans. The project team is consulting closely with a range of potential users, from government departments to businesses and academics, to help shape the outputs. The final product will appear on a new website, with content ranging from headline messages, maps and other graphical resources through to the raw data for more expert users.

So, do you need to know what the UK’s weather and climate will be like in future? Are you thinking about how to take these risks into account in the work of your organisation? If so, then  please sign up for the UKCP18 newsletter, visit the project website for further information or contact the project email address with any questions you might have.

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