Will your home be habitable by your grandchildren?
First UK findings of the world's largest climate prediction experiment reported in BBC One and The Open University's Climate Change - Britain Under Threat
British scientists running the world's most ambitious climate prediction
experiment have confirmed many fears of what climate change will mean for the
UK in the coming years - sweltering heat-waves, widespread flooding and storm
Preliminary UK findings of the BBC Climate Change Experiment, which involved
tens of thousands of people running climate prediction models on their home
computers, will be revealed by Sir David Attenborough in Climate Change -
Britain Under Threat, a co-production between the BBC and The Open University which broadcasts on BBC One at 8pm on Sunday 21 January.
highlights threats from climate change, of floods, storm-surges and heat-waves,
but there may also be a few opportunities: olive groves in Devon and the chance
of Blackpool topping the league of European beach resorts.
Using the climate prediction results viewers will see snapshots of the future
of Britain in 2020, 2050 and 2080 as Sir David guides us through 21st century
Sir David is joined in the BBC/Open University co-production by Kate Humble and
Matt Allwright to investigate how climate change will affect our country and
learn how it will affect where people choose to live, the cars they choose to
drive and the natural world they treasure.
Flooding will no longer be an issue reserved for those living near flood prone
rivers. Victorian sewers unable to cope with heavier downpours will cause havoc
in major cities.
Heat-waves like the summer of 2003 will become routine, making
conditions in a typical Victorian terrace, and much of the London Underground,
intolerable without expensive, and energy-hungry, air-conditioning.
Project co-ordinator Dr Nick Faull of Oxford University describes the results: "People need to understand this is not a worst-case scenario: this is what we
are increasingly confident will happen in the absence of substantial cuts in
greenhouse gas emissions."
Professor Bob Spicer, Professor of Earth Sciences at The Open University and
chief academic for the programme, said: "By using the computers of many tens of
thousands of people around the world, all of whom will be affected by climate
change in some way or another, we have created the largest virtual
supercomputer dedicated to climate change that the world has ever seen.
been able to do calculations that even on a normal supercomputer would have
taken decades to complete."
More than 200,000 users downloaded the software from the BBC website.
developed with the BBC by the climateprediction.net project and based on the
Met Office climate model.
More than 50,000 have already run the model long enough
for their results to be scientifically useful.
The experiment, funded by the
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Microsoft Corporation, will
continue and results will be fed into future scientific papers.
Professor Alan Thorpe, NERC's Chief Executive, said: "NERC spends millions of
pounds every year on climate change research so it's particularly gratifying
that the work of climateprediction.net has reached so many people around the
"Changes in climate affect many people and we need to continue to
increase our scientific knowledge so that society can respond to the
More detail on the results of the experiment is available from bbc.co.uk/climatechange.
This includes a map showing all the people who took
part, including people in Bhutan, Greenland and Siberia.
On the site you can
also see the world view, showing temperature change across the globe up to
Further detail on the UK results includes graphs and UK maps showing
And viewers can watch video from the BBC One programme on
the website after Sunday 21 January.
The Open University has also produced a free guide to Climate Change.
What Can We Do About Climate Change? is a 12-page fold-out guide with
information, practical advice, striking images and opportunities to take the
subject further by studying related courses with the OU or becoming involved in
the debate at various levels.
The guide is free of charge and can be ordered direct from the OU by calling
0870 942 1342 or through open2.net/climatechange.
The OU/BBC website, Open2.net, will also feature articles exploring differing
views on the concept of climate change and the effects on the environment to
coincide with this OU/BBC collaboration.
Visitors to the website can also take
part in an interactive Holiday Journey Planner and compare how
environmentally friendly different modes of transport are.
The Open University offers a number of related courses for viewers who have
been inspired to learn more about issues explored during these programmes.
courses range from short tasters through to more in-depth study in
Notes to Editors
Climate Change - Britain Under Threat is a BBC/ Open University co-production
for BBC One.
It will broadcast at 8pm on Sunday 21 January 2007.
The Executive Producer for the BBC is Phil Dolling; The Producer is Paul
Bradshaw and Executive Producer for The Open University is Emma De'Ath.
The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for more than 30 years,
providing educational programming to a mass audience.
In recent times this
partnership has evolved from late-night programming for delivering courses to
peak-time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in
The Natural Environment Research Council funds world-class science in
universities and its own research centres that increases knowledge and
understanding of the natural world.
NERC is tackling the 21st century's major
environmental issues - such as climate change, biodiversity and natural
It leads in providing independent research and training in the
Information on previous Climate Change programmes can be found at
Related Courses and programmes from the Open University:
S199 Modelling the Climate (short course)
S103 Discovering Science
S216 Environmental Science
T172 Working with our environment: Technology for a sustainable
U316 The environmental web
DD100 Introduction to the social sciences: understanding social
T206 Energy for a sustainable future
S250 Science in context