Updated UK Climate Projections Launched

The UKCP18 projections are a major advance in the climate science underpinning our work on adaptation in Scotland. Although climate trends are broadly consistent with the previous UKCP09 projections, under the bonnet there are many new products and features that will hopefully drive a step-change in the usefulness of climate projections in decision making.

Amongst these are: Global Projections (at 60km) that provide 28 plausible climate futures spanning the planet; High-Resolution Projections (at 2.2km – due in June 2019) that provide information on events like localised heavy rainfall in summer; Observations of past climate that will now be free-to-use and updated annually as part of State-of-the-Climate; and a new user interface plus API accessible data – which could revolutionise the development of climate service applications.

We need to bring together the research and practice communities over the coming years to make sure that we make the most of these state-of-the-art climate projections.

Joseph Hagg
Science & Skill Manager, Adaptation Scotland

Background UKCP18 projections

The UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) launched on 26 November 2018.

The UKCP18 projections are a major upgrade that build upon the preceding UKCP09 projections, offering an expanded range of state-of-the-art climate information. They will give greater regional detail, further analysis of the risks we face, both nationally and globally, and provide more information on potential extremes and impacts of climate change.

The UKCP18 projections will include:

  • Updated probabilistic projections (25km, river basins, regions)
  • Global projections (60km)
  • Regional projections (12km)
  • High-resolution projections (2.2km): due mid-2019
  • Marine projections
  • Observations (since late 1800s)

UKCP18 Projections in Scotland - Event

Adaptation Scotland, ClimateXChange and the Met Office are inviting Scottish stakeholders to hear more about the UKCP18 projections - and to discuss how we can make the most of them including new projects, climate services, and communicating results in Scotland.

Thursday 24 January 2019, 11:00 - 15:00, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI)

Register here:

UKCP18 for Levenmouth, Fife

This week Adaptation Scotland will be looking to extract climate projections for Levenmouth, Fife. On Wednesday we will be using these to challenge Fife College students on a ‘Creative Minds’ programme to respond with creative visions of a Climate Ready Levenmouth.

This is part of the Levenmouth Adapts project with partners Fife Resource Solutions, Creative Carbon Scotland and the artist Natalie Taylor.

UKCP18 headline projections

Some headline results for the UK from the UKCP18 are being highlighted at the launch today. The online resources available through the website and user interface allow for anyone to produce similar results for their location.

Adaptation Scotland will be looking at the projections over the coming days to extract some further examples specifically for Scotland.

Some key results being highlighted:

  • General climate change trends projected over UK land for the 21st century show an increased chance of milder, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers along with an increase in the frequency and intensity of extremes.

The main trends remain similar to UKCP09, but we now have more information on the extremes and variability of future climate.

  • By the end of the 21st century, all areas of the UK are projected to be warmer, more so in summer than in winter. Annual average UK warming by the end of the century, for the lowest emission scenario, is extremely likely to be above 0.1 °C of warming and extremely unlikely to be above 2.4 °C. For the highest emission scenario, warming is extremely likely to be in the range 1.5 to 6 °C.

As well as these long-term trends, UKCP18 provides an opportunity to better look at extreme events – for example the changing frequency of heatwaves.

  • Rainfall patterns across the UK are not uniform and vary on seasonal and regional scales and will continue to vary in the future... Summer drying is strongest in the south of England, with winter wetting greatest in north Scotland. The corresponding change in winter rainfall is extremely likely to be in the range +27% to -5% (low emission scenario) and +59% to -3% (high emission scenario).

Regional variation – even within Scotland – needs to be understood. In many cases this will be important to understanding potential local impacts (e.g. flood or drought risk).

  • We can continue to expect increases to extreme coastal water levels driven mainly by increases in mean sea level rise, although we cannot rule out additional changes in storm surges. For Edinburgh, sea level rise by the end of the century (when compared to 1981-2000) for the low emission scenario is extremely likely to be in the range 0.08m to 0.49m. For a high emission scenario, this range is extremely likely to be 0.30m to 0.90m.

We’ve known for some time that UKCP18 sea level rise would be higher than UKCP09 (due to inclusion of ice component) – with levels up to 0.9m (and higher still out to 2300) it reinforces the message that serious long-term planning is required at our coasts.