England faces longer, drier summers, Met Office study finds | Scientific and technical news

England faces longer, drier summers, Met Office study finds | Scientific and technical news

According to the Met Office, summers in England are likely to be longer and drier due to increased climate change.

The Met Office concluded that the changes were man-made by comparing different emissions scenarios, which showed that the effects were stronger when emissions were high.

He said summer conditions are expected to last longer and a 4-12 per cent reduction in rainfall in England is likely going forward in the autumn.

It comes after swaths of England have declared drought and the recent record heat wave pushed the impact of climate change onto the political agenda.

“Our research has revealed that largely ‘summer-like’ weather patterns – bringing drier conditions – will begin to spread across
early autumn,” said Daniel Cotterill of the Met Office, the lead scientist behind the study.

“While we did not expect to see this pattern shift imminently, a key finding of this study is that from the mid-2020s, warmer and drier autumns after warmer and drier summers could increase the risk of drought.

The strength of change in weather patterns depends on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, which climatologists call emission pathways.

“Our research compares a very low emissions trajectory to a very high emissions scenario,” Cotterill added. “What we see is that these effects are much stronger in the high emission scenarios, suggesting that these changes in weather are due to human influence and the resulting effect of warming on the atmospheric circulation.

The paper, published in the journal Climate Dynamics, found England would likely see less rain in autumn, but could experience extreme rainfall events interspersed with drier periods.

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Mr Cotterill added: “This is a signal that we may start to see over the next 10 years. We are likely to see a 4-12 per cent reduction in rainfall in parts of England in the future in the autumn.

“It depends a lot on the greenhouse gas emission scenarios. One of the things that we already see in autumn with the increase in average seasonal temperatures is an increase in the number of extreme precipitation events. But in the future, we’ll probably see this drying out effect too.

“UK climate projections have shown for some time that we can expect warmer, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters. Our study shows that we are also likely to see warmer, drier autumns in mean.”

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