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the science behind the floods

As flood waters start to subside those affected, politicians and the media start to ask how we can prevent such flooding events in future, could more have been done and what are the longer term solutions. Four of the UK’s leading flooding experts from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology came to the SMC to speak to journalists. read more

expert reaction to flooding

Heavy and persistent rainfall has caused flooding in various parts of the UK, with northern England and southern Scotland particularly badly affected. read more

Met Office Report: Big changes underway in the climate system?

Changing phenomena such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Nino can temporarily compete with and mask the effects of global climate change. This can make for a complex and confusing picture. A new report from the Met Office examines the latest behaviour of some of these key climate patterns against the backdrop of global warming. How are current patterns affecting the climate? What’s happening with the global warming slowdown? What can we expect in the near future? And does any of this change our understanding of the longer-term trends? read more

food shocks: expert task force reports on threats to food stocks from extreme weather

An independent expert taskforce from the UK and USA have outlined key recommendations to safeguard against threats to food supplies in a new report for the Global Food Security programme today. The report highlights an increasing risk of global food supply disruptions and price spikes that could result from extreme weather events – such as heatwaves, droughts and floods – and offers new recommendations for mitigation. Although further work is needed to reduce uncertainty and better understand the way extreme weather may change, there is good evidence that extreme weather events, from intense storms to droughts and heatwaves, are increasing in frequency and severity. The report shows that severe ‘production shocks’ caused by extreme weather– whereby global food production is seriously disrupted – of a scale likely to occur once in a century under past conditions, may occur as frequently as once every 30 years as the world’s climate and global food supply systems change in the coming decades. read more

expert reaction to study and linked comment piece investigating deaths from cold weather and hot weather

Both hot and cold weather can contribute to premature deaths in different contexts, and scientists publishing in the Lancet journal have attempted to determine the relative contribution of each temperature type. The researchers report that more deaths were caused by cold rather than hot weather, and that extremes had less of an impact than “milder but non-optimal” weather. read more

the El Niño Southern Oscillation

El Niño takes place in the Pacific Ocean and has the power to affect weather patterns around the world; an especially intense El Niño event is thought to be partly responsible for the famously high surface temperatures of 1998. Scientists are in broad agreement that an El Niño this year is underway, but its effects are notoriously hard to predict. read more

expert reaction to new research on exceptionally warm years in England

The weather in central England is the focus of research published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The authors report an increase in the likelihood of exceptionally warm years in the region, and attribute some of the blame for these changes in climate to the influence of human activities. read more

expert reaction to 2014 temperature data from the WMO

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said that 2014 is likely to be one of, if not the hottest year on record. This is the case for the UK and on a global scale, and they say that this is in part due to high global sea temperatures. read more

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