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28 October 2014
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Climate Scenarios

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What are the UKCIP02 scenarios?

In April 2002 a new report, called UKCIP02, was released showing climate scenarios for the UK. These scenarios present four different possibilities of how our climate might change. The scenarios were based on four different scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change following new information about predicted global emissions.

They take into account the possible changes in technology and lifestyle over the next 100 years. The scenarios do not claim to be definitive - our climate may not change in exactly the same way as is predicted. The four UKCIP02 climate change scenarios are know as 'Low Emissions', 'Medium-Low Emissions', 'Medium-High Emissions' and 'High Emissions'.


  • Annual average temperatures look set to rise by between 2C and 3.5C by the 2080's. The south and east of the UK will most likely see the largest rise in temperature, in contrast to the north and west which will see the least.
  • Most of the warming will be in summer and autumn
  • Summer rises in southern England and south Wales are expected to be the highest
  • In contrast, winter rises in the winter in the northwest of Scotland are predicted to be between 1C ('low emissions') and 2C ('high emissions').
  • Temperatures in the south east may rise by as much as 5C on average, by 2080’s, according to the 'high emissions' scenario and over 4C with the 'medium-high emissions'.


  • Precipitation in winter will increase in all areas of the country, in every one of the scenarios.
  • The increase is predicted to range from between 10% and 20%, depending on the area of the country, for the 'low emissions' . For the 'high emissions' scenario, the range increases to between 15% and 35%.
  • The summer will see less precipitation than we see now and will therefore be much drier.
  • The 'low emissions' scenario predicts the country to become up to 35% drier. Whereas the 'high emissions' scenario forecasts 50% less rainfall than we experience now, by the 2080's.
  • The largest changes are predicted for the southern and eastern part of England, the smallest changes are forecast to be in northwest Scotland.
  • Less snow will fall throughout the UK - a decline of 60% in parts of Scotland and up to 90% elsewhere.

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