Expert reactions to UK Climate Projections 2018 as published by the UK Met Office.
Prof Ed Hawkins, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading, said:
“The new UKCP18 projections describe the risks that the UK faces from continued climate change. The report highlights that the choices made in the coming decades about global greenhouse gas emissions will directly affect the likelihood of extreme weather events and other climate-related impacts in the UK.”
Prof Gabi Hegerl FRS, Professor of Climate System Science at the University of Edinburgh, said:
The new projections are based on an impressive amount of work. Nice innovations are the availability of continuous storylines where researchers can use possible realizations of climate change across variables, such as look at periods of extended drought and high temperatures; or of unusually strong westerly flow with strong wind and rain simultaneously. The projections cover both the possibility of large climate change and of mitigated climate change around 2 degrees at the end of the century. I particularly like how future uncertainty ranges calculated incorporate information from model uncertainty, the response across different global models, and changes already observed.”
Prof David Stainforth, Professorial Research Fellow at The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said:
“The science which tells us that climate change is a fundamental threat to our societies, is robust and relatively simple. Reliably projecting the details of what it will look like in Scarborough, Cheshire or Tunbridge Wells is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. UKCP18 has not solved it.
“UKCP18 looks comprehensive and thorough. It feeds our desire for specifics and for high resolution pictures. It is valuable in bringing to life the types of changes we want to avoid. It is, however, based on research at the edge of scientific understanding, using methods whose reliability has been questioned. It is not reliable and robust in the way that knowledge of the climate change threat is, so it creates its own risks.
“I fear that the projections will perpetuate confusion between the trustable and the debatable in relation to climate change by giving the impression that climate science can provide more detail than is justified.
“UKCP18 also represents a risk of increasing the UK’s vulnerability by placing all, or most, of our eggs in one climate information basket. There are many ways of using climate science to support business decisions and to increase climate resilience. Support for a diversity of approaches would better reflect the fascinating scientific debates regarding the challenges of producing detailed climate projections and of decision making in the light of climate change.”
Prof Matthew Collins, Joint Met Office Chair in Climate Change at the University of Exeter, said:
“Despite global efforts to limit global warming, some effects are already being seen in the UK. For example, the UK has warmed by around 1 degree C since pre-industrial times and rainfall has increased by around 4% in recent decades. These effects are expected to increase in the future and this report provides information to prepare for those changes.”
“The report also assess some very high levels of global warming resulting from a scenario of un-mitigated climate change, coupled with a climate system that is very sensitive to changes in greenhouse gases. While such changes are not likely, they present a worse-case scenario for climate adaptation. A kind of climate backstop.”