Climate Change - the effect on our climate system!

28th July 2022

Sean Coleman

Over recent years we have experienced significant changes within our weather pattern, including extreme heatwaves, record breaking winds and intense storms across the UK, but why is this happening?

What is Climate Change?

Climate change refers to the long-term change in average weather patterns, this phenomenon occurs naturally over thousands of years. The rapid warming observed since the preindustrial period is a result of anthropogenic climate change with the driver of this being the release of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels and other human practices.

Changing Summer Weather Patterns

It is expected that changes to climate patterns will result in the UK experiencing hotter summers, the Met Office estimate by 2070 summer temperatures will be between 1 and 6°C warmer than that of 1990 temperatures. The number of extremely hot days (when temperatures exceed 25°C) could increase four-fold meaning we could experience between 32-46 days a year where temperatures exceed 25°C. Instances of extreme heat are detrimental to human health and also put pressure on transport networks and the water and energy supply which can cause significant disruption.

Changing Summer Weather Patterns

It is expected that changes to climate patterns will result in the UK experiencing hotter summers, the Met Office estimate by 2070 summer temperatures will be between 1 and 6°C warmer than that of 1990 temperatures. The number of extremely hot days (when temperatures exceed 25°C) could increase four-fold meaning we could experience between 32-46 days a year where temperatures exceed 25°C. Instances of extreme heat are detrimental to human health and also put pressure on transport networks and the water and energy supply which can cause significant disruption.

UK summers are also expected to become drier and there will be increased periods of drought. Increased frequency of drought will bring about a variety of challenges including shortages of drinking water. In such events the quality of our water courses will also diminish, reduced stream and river discharge increases the concentration of pollutants in our water courses and can also cause stagnation. Drought can also limit the growing season in agriculture leading to lower crop yields and result in higher food prices and food shortages.

Changing Winter Weather Patterns

It is expected that our winters are also going to become warmer, by 2070 the Met Office estimate our winters will be between 1 and 4.5°C warmer (Compared to our climate in 1990). In addition, by 2070 our winters could be up to 30% wetter (Compared to our climate in 1990). Rainfall intensity is also projected to increase by up to 25% in winter months, as such the Environment Agency has predicted the amount of flash flood alerts will double.

Increased flooding will cause severe disruption to human life, damages to property caused by flooding can result in displacement of populations and cause business disruption. The floods of 2015/16 alone were estimated to cost the UK economy a staggering £1.6 billion. Therefore, mitigating the impacts of flooding is of paramount significance. These impacts can only be lessened by significantly reducing GHG emissions and constructing further flood defences.

Hydrological cycle

The hydrological (water) cycle is highly dependent on temperature. Global warming is intensifying the hydrological cycle as higher temperatures are increasing evaporation. Warmer air also has the capacity to store more water vapor. The resulting affect is a more variable hydrological system, meaning there will be more periods of drought and more intense rainfall. Precipitation will not be evenly distributed due to changes in rainfall patterns. Some areas will experience substantial rainfall over an extended period whilst at the same time other areas are experiencing drought.

As we have seen, climate change is already having visible effects on the world and unfortunately even if we stop all emissions today, we would not prevent some changes. However, there are small steps everyone can take to support in the fight against climate and we are proud to be able to support businesses achieve Net Zero! To contact our team today to find out more about we can help your business, email solutions@complydirect.com.