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Climate Change Initiative Welcomed In UK


Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (UK)

Climate Change Initiative Welcomed In UK

The first report from a programme that will allow people to explore projections of climate change through the 21st century was welcomed by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn today.

The £2 million Defra-funded programme consists of five reports and an interactive website, known as UKCIP08. The project will bring together climate science from the Met Office to provide information to decision makers, academics and others, on the current climate, and possible future changes. Its interactive website will provide customisable climate change projections when it launches in late 2008.

The first report from UKCIP08, The climate of the United Kingdom and recent trends, was published today. It states:

* Central England Temperature has risen by about a degree Celsius since the 1970s, with 2006 being the warmest yet. It is likely that there has been a significant influence from human activity on the recent warming.

* Sea surface temperatures around the UK coast have risen over the past three decades, by about 0.7C.

* Severe windstorms around the UK have become more frequent in the past few decades, but no higher than levels seen at the beginning of the last century.

Regardless of strides taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the inertia of the climate system commits us to some change over the next few decades.

Hilary Benn said:

"As the range of countries gathered in Bali shows, climate change is the biggest challenge we face as a global community and to which no-one is immune. That is why we need the conference to agree to start negotiations on a new global deal.

"This report shows that climate change is happening in the UK - and it's happening now. All of us - governments, businesses and individuals - need to be able to plan for the future. This groundbreaking initiative, when completed in late 2008, will be designed to help people investigate the possible future climate at the click of a mouse.

"It will put us face to face with what the climate might look like in our own back yard and challenge us to think about how to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change."

Notes:

1. 'The climate of the United Kingdom and recent trends' contains information about key climate variables from 1961 to 2006. It provides maps and graphs to show long term averages and changes between 1961 and 2006 with information presented annually and by season. Most of the data is from the Met Office, with additional material from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and IPCC.

2. 'The climate of the United Kingdom and recent trends' is the first of five reports to be launched under the umbrella of the UK 21st Century Climate Change Scenarios - known as UKCIP08. The final outputs, including an interactive website, will be released in late 2008, and will provide the most comprehensive package of climate change information available for the UK to date. A pdf of 'The climate of the United Kingdom and observed trends' is available from the UK Climate Impacts Programme at http://www.ukcip.org.uk. The data underlying the report can be accessed at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/obsdata/ukcip/index.html.

3. Modelled on an earlier report produced for Scotland by the Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research, 'The climate of the United Kingdom and recent trends' summarises in one place up-to-date and scientifically robust information on observed climate trends, concentrating on the period since 1961, but including some data from as far back as 1780.

4. The report reiterates earlier findings that Central England Temperature has risen by about a degree Celsius since the 1970s, with 2006 being the warmest on record. It is likely that there has been a significant influence from human activity on the recent warming.

5. Current climate and recent trends are illustrated for regions of the UK using maps, graphs and tables for eleven climate variables, including temperature, precipitation, days of rain, days of frost and humidity.

6. The UKCIP08 project will be the result of a five-year programme including extensive user consultation. It is being driven by new requirements from increasingly-sophisticated adaptation planners. The project will bring together climate change projections from the Met Office in an accessible way for those interested in assessing climate change impacts or planning adaptation strategies. The UKCIP08 reports will explain in detail the methodology used to create the data, including assumptions, limitations and uncertainties inherent in the data. It will also provide extensive User Guidance, with examples of what it should, and should not, be used for, so that users can make an informed choice of its suitability for their needs.

7. The UKCIP08 web interface will provide information in three ways:

key headline messages and commonly used statistics published materials such as reports, graphs and maps, customisable climate projections (through a web interface being designed by the British Atmospheric Data Centre) and a weather generator tool, the latter under development by the University of Newcastle and UEA.

8. UKCIP08 is being funded by Defra on behalf of the UK Government and Devolved Administrations. 'The climate of the United Kingdom and recent trends' has been written by the Met Office Hadley Centre with input from the University of East Anglia, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, UK Climate Impacts Programme, Defra, Devolved Administrations and organisations represented on the UKCIP08 steering group and users' panel.

9. This UKCIP08 report is published by the Met Office Hadley Centre. It is the first of the UKCIP08 scientific reports, and should be referenced as: Jenkins, G.J., Perry, M.C., and Prior, M.J.0 (2007).

ENDS

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