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Blog - Climate change: UK summers could be over 5C warmer by 2070

In its first major update on climate change in almost 10 years, the Met Office has warned of significant temperature rises in the decades ahead.

The UK Climate Projections 2018 study is the most up to date assessment of how the UK will change over this century.

It says that under the highest emissions scenario, summer temperatures could be 5.4C hotter by 2070.

The chances of a summer as warm as 2018 are around 50% by 2050.

The most alarming figure in the report is the projection of summer temperatures up to 5.4C warmer than the baseline period which is the average temperatures between 1981-2000.

This would only happen, according to the Met Office, if the world was to continue increasing emissions of carbon dioxide rather than reducing them as most governments intend.

So for Nottingham, the Met Office says that under a high emissions future, temperatures could rise by between 1.1C to 5.8C.

In Scotland, in Pitlochry the summer rise ranges from 0.6C to 4.8C warmer. Around Aberystwyth in Wales they range from 0.9C to 5.9C warmer while Cookstown in Northern Ireland could be 0.8 to 4.9C hotter.

But even under a low emissions scenario the Met Office says that the UK will see an average yearly temperature increase up to 2.3C by 2100.

Flood risks

Summers as warm as the one just past, are likely to be very common, with a 50% chance of occurring.

A few years ago, the Met Office believed the chances o

These warmer summers of the future are likely to be much drier too, with average summer rainfall dropping by 47% by 2070. Winters could be warmer by up to 4.2C but they will also see more rainfall, increasing by up to 35% by 2070, under the worst emissions scenario.

Raised sea levels are also one of the consequences of a warmer world and according to the report, they could increase by 1.15 metres in London by 2100.

The report says the UK is set to see an increase in both the frequency and magnitude of extreme water levels.

Just a few weeks ago the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warned that by 2080 up to 1.2 million homes may be at increased risk of flooding.

“The UK18 projections are further evidence that we will see more extreme weather in the future – we need to prepare and adapt now, climate change impacts are already being felt with the record books being re-written,” said Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency.

“The Environment Agency cannot wall up the country, but will be at the forefront – protecting communities, building resilience, and responding to incidents.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove praised the new study as an “invaluable tool” as it will help with decisions on large infrastructure.

“It is clear that the planet and its weather patterns are changing before our eyes,” he said, launching the report at the Science Museum in London.

“We know, more than ever before, the urgency of acting.”

Mr Gove has been stressing that Britain has a good track record on climate change, having cut emissions by 40% since 1990 while continuing to grow the economy, however other political figures say that the new report underlines how much more needs to be done.

“These projections paint a devastating picture of what climate breakdown means for the UK if we continue down the path we’re on,” said Green party MP Caroline Lucas. “Michael Gove’s vague talk of mitigating the worst impacts of floods, droughts and storms are far from reassuring.