Chris Beales - climate change | music
Consequences Page

The aim of this section is to try and give you a picture of how the world will change through the effects of global warming. There are global consequences from the changing weather patterns, and other associated impacts. What will these mean to you and me? I focus right in on changes we can expect to see in my home town of Reading to help illustrate what climate change will be like. From this you can hopefully get a feel for how much things will change in other parts of the world. Notice that it will make a big difference to the future if we cut down on our emissions now!

Before getting into some of the science though, I put the following presentation together to help explain why we are particularly worried about the climate change.

Global climate change

Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES)  1 January 2014

The greatest source of uncertainty for anyone trying to predict how the climate will change is us. How will we behave in the future? Will we take the issue seriously and rapidly cut our emissions of greenhouse gases? Or will it be business as usual? There are a number of Emission Scenarios, which have been modelled to try and understand this. This section has been updated to include the new AR5 scenarios.

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How will global temperatures change?  1 December 2010

Atmospheric scientists use the emission scenarios to predict how much greenhouse gas concentrations will increase in the atmosphere. They can then run Global Climate Models to predict how the temperatures will change in the future, alongside changes in other aspects of the weather like rainfall. Even medium emission scenarios predict increases in average global temperatures by 3ºC, by the end of the century.

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But what does it mean for me?

Talking about how global average temperatures might change is all a bit academic. It doesn’t tell me how my local climate is predicted to change, and that is what I really want to know to try and understand what global warming is going to mean for me…and you…

graph
80The Central England Temperature Record extended to include the latest UK climate projections 2018

photo UK Climate Projections 2009 for Reading  1 January 2011

When the UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) were released, I was really keen to understand them and work out what changes they predicted for my home town of Reading. Following this through in detail, I dig into the spatial and seasonal differences we can expect. As well what is underneath these big shifts in long term average temperature, rainfall, etc. The projections were updated in 2018 with the results of more powerful models and improved science. However the broad findings are similar, as is the way to access the data.

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Consequences

What are the likely consequences of these changes to our climate?

Consequences for Reading  1 January 2010

The changes to temperature, rainfall and other weather variables will cause changes to the environment around Reading. We might see increases in flooding; more extreme heat waves; loss of some species (e.g. birds and trees) and the rise of others…potentially including pests.

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What are the consequences of these changes?  

To help us understand how climate change will vary across the world, the Met Office have created a map showing the relative change in temperature across the globe. It is notable that other parts of the world are expected to see much bigger changes than Reading. This map also identifies some of the key consequences that individual regions may be expected to have to deal with. These are listed further with links to the IPCC impacts report.

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Knock on effects for Reading  

It is fair to point out that Reading isn’t the centre of the Universe(!) and that we don’t live in isolation. Climate change effects in other parts of the world will be different, and may be more or less extreme. Hopefully, it is clear to see that knock on effects of following anything like the high emissions scenario will be completely unacceptable. We must fight hard to reduce our emissions so that we are not left with trying to adapt to some dangerous consequences of climate change.

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Original consequences page is here

Recent Consequences Posts

graph Frost Days
16 September 2021

I drew up the following chart using data from the Met Office National Climate Information Centre HadUK-Grid climate data. We have seen long-term average temperatures increase, in England since the …

photo IPCC Special Report 15 – Global warming of 1.5degC
16 October 2018

Prompted by calls from the Paris climate summit, the IPCC commissioned this report to look at the challenge of limiting climate change to 1.5 degC compared with 2 degC. The consequences for the world of just that half-a-degree difference are stark. And it is a real call to arms for the global race to zero carbon emissions.

Extreme Events and Climate Change presentation
9 April 2016

The aim of the presentation is to help explain the link between Extreme Events, which can dramatically affect our lives, and Climate Change, which may seem less urgent and is often talked about as rather abstract changes in global average temperatures.

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