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Jim McIlwee UK Climate Impacts Programme

Climate change and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Presentation to NAAONB’s Seminar to study the affect of Climate Change on AONBs 9 December 2003 , Carrs Lane Ecumenical Centre, Birmingham . Jim McIlwee UK Climate Impacts Programme. Outline. Introduction Global climate change

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Jim McIlwee UK Climate Impacts Programme

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  1. Climate change and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Presentation to NAAONB’s Seminar to study the affect of Climate Change on AONBs 9 December 2003, Carrs Lane Ecumenical Centre, Birmingham Jim McIlwee UK Climate Impacts Programme

  2. Outline • Introduction • Global climate change • Climate change for the UK over the 21st century • Key impacts for the British countryside • Likely impacts on AONBs

  3. What is UKCIP? • Funded by the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) since 1997 • Helps decision-makers develop effective responses to climate change impacts, by: • promoting stakeholder-led, problem-oriented research • providing core tools • providing guidance/advice • encouraging integrated approaches

  4. Some Basic Definitions • Mitigation- action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is required to tackle climate change and limit the most severe impacts. • Adaptation- action to minimise the adverse impacts of climate change and to take advantage of opportunities it might present. • Scenarios: • plausible descriptions of how things may change in the future based on estimates of future changes in, for example, economic performance, population patterns and forms of governance. • they provide a framework for structured thinking about how the future may unfold. • IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change

  5. UKCIP02 climate change scenarios • Based on predictions from Hadley Centre models, using four IPCC emissions scenarios - analysis & publication by Tyndall Centre • For three 30 year timeslices centred on the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s • Observations of recent change with a 5km baseline grid of observed data (monthly,1961-2000, for 26 quantities) • Future changes in UK seasonal means and daily extremes (50km) • Expert judgements of levels of confidence in changes with uncertainties illustrated with other models Produced for UKCIP; funded by DEFRA

  6. ..most escapes to outer space and cools the earth... The Greenhouse Effect SUN …but some is trapped by gases in the air, and returns to heat the earth. Sunlight passes through the atmosphere.. Infra-red “heat” radiation is given off by the earth... ..and warms the earth.

  7. Global mean surface temperatures have increased

  8. Most of the observed warming in the past 50 years is attributable to human activities

  9. IPCC Carbon emissions scenarios A1F1 – world markets (A1), fossil fuels reliance (F1) - HIGH emissions A2 – Provincial (UK) enterprise – MED-HIGH emissions B2 – local stewardship – MED-LOW emissions B1 – global sustainability – LOW emissions

  10. Global temperature (2000 - 2100) Modelled climate response to scenarios adopted Hadley Centre model runs IPCC range of change

  11. Projected temperatures in 21st Century are significantly higher than at any time during last 1000 years

  12. Global sea level rise Full IPCC range 10–90cm rise by end of century Hadley Centre model runs

  13. Changes in average temperature Low emissions High emissions

  14. Daily maximum temperature: probability of exceedance Central England Baseline (1961-90) 2080s, medium-high emissions

  15. Changes in average precipitation Winter Summer

  16. Daily precipitation: probability of exceedance “Pembrokeshire” rainfall Winter - solid Summer - dotted Baseline (1961-90) 2080s, medium-high emissions

  17. Frequency of UK depressionsMedium-High Emissions2080s - red baseline - blue

  18. Extreme seasonal anomaliesMedium-High Emissions % of years experiencing seasonal anomolies across southern UK

  19. The changing seasonality of UK climate Monthly Precipitation (mm) Mean Temperature (oC) Monthly Precipitation (mm)

  20. Changes in average soil moisture content (2050s)

  21. High water level return period Immingham, Lincs 2080sMedium-High Emissions

  22. A word about the Gulf Stream • Concerns expressed that global warming may cause significant change in Gulf Stream circulation, and a much colder climate in NW Europe. • Good evidence that Gulf Stream has weakened in the past; particularly during last ice-age - but relatively stable for past 8000 years • In next 50-100 years current scientific consensus (IPCC) is that global warming may result in a weakening of the Gulf Stream (circa 20% reduction) but unlikely to shut it down. • This weakening will not prevent warming in North-west Europe but will modify extent. • UKCIP)” scenarios already include this weakening • Further research is ongoing. • Current consensus is there is a low probability, in the next 100 years, that the Gulf Stream will shut down and lead to significant cooling over Europe.

  23. Summary of changes for the UK • Hotter drier summers • Milder wetter winters • Net sea level rise and increased occurrence of extreme high-water levels • Extreme high temperatures more frequent • Extreme winter precipitation more frequent • Significant decrease in soil moisture content

  24. www.ukcip.org.uk

  25. Countryside Climate Change IssuesUKCIP Regional Studies - Key Impacts Soils Water Biodiversity Agriculture & Forestry Rural Business Landscape Quality Local Issues Recreation and Urban Margin

  26. Countryside Climate Change ImpactsUKCIP Regional Studies • Soils • Heather moorland, blanket bog and oak woodland all vulnerable to changes in soil condition • Decreased soil quality and increased erosion due to increased run-off from winter precipitation • Other issues include sea water contamination of soils, erosion from flash flooding, new crops could increase exposure of soils to erosion and affect biodiversity etc. • Subsidence

  27. Countryside Climate Change ImpactsUKCIP Regional Studies • Water • Quality - Lower river flow levels in summer and turbulent flows after heavy rainfall. Algal blooms/pollution in reservoirs, colouration/dirt in summer, saline intrusion at coastal boreholes etc. • Supply - Affected by change of rainfall patterns. Pressure for new raw water reservoirs and on-farm storage. Water quality issues. • Demand –Supply. Domestic water requirements may increase, industrial water requirements may alter, particularly in agriculture, water shortages may constrain development, more water may be needed for irrigation and cooling. • Flooding - More winter flooding including increase in risks of foul flooding. Limit development in flood risk areas. Increased estuarine and coastal flooding, rainfall intensity likely to affect land use and the stability of exposed slopes.

  28. Countryside Climate Change ImpactsUKCIP Regional Studies • Biodiversity • Northward migration of warmth-loving species replacing cold-adapted species. Disappearance of high altitude adapted species • Effects of sea level rise on habitats and biodiversity are likely to be localised in vulnerable areas • Severe storms droughts and fire, may increase the likelihood of local extinctions • Increased pressure on National Parks and sensitive habitats • Response of species and habitats to climate change is likely to be influenced by future socio-economic decisions, some of which will be climate related e.g. flood defences, sea defences, agriculture changes, water abstraction etc.

  29. Countryside Climate Change ImpactsUKCIP Regional Studies • Agriculture & Forestry • Forestry and Agriculture productivity likely to benefit through increased growth rates (fertilising effect of CO2 + temperature rise) and reduced frost damage. • More diverse & valuable crops may be grown. • Increased potential for planting trees/crops for energy production and new forestry planting in floodplains to mitigate flooding. • Some crops and tree varieties may be less suitable to climate, Increase risks i.e. wind/storm damage to crops/nursery stock, forest fires, pests, diseases & pathogens. • Increased irrigation/drainage may be needed to deal with water shortages/waterlogged land, and areas high flood risk. • Climate changes beyond the region/UK may affect the food business. Potential loss of competitive advantage due to northern migration of warmer climate.

  30. Countryside Climate Change ImpactsUKCIP Regional Studies • Rural Business/Activity • Commercial/environmental opportunities for passive solar heating, cooling, shading, other environmental technologies/ expertise. • Changes to water supply and quality will restrict water intensive activities • Higher temperatures could make food preparation, handling and storage more difficult. • Concern to economic activity based in floodplain, coastal & estuarine areas. • Longer, more reliable summer season leading to increased visitor numbers as Mediterranean destinations become too hot • Heritage sites particularly vulnerable to climate change. Difficulty conserving historic garden designs, built heritage susceptable to climate extremes, sites located in areas liable to flooding, coastal areas etc.

  31. Countryside Climate Change ImpactsUKCIP Regional Studies • Landscape Quality – Conservation or adaptation; changing character. Regions have diversity of character areas. • Local Issues –Often rural impacts arise around specific local issues, impacts that affect local way of life, local landscape, local services etc. • Recreation and Urban Margin – Built environment looking to countryside for greenspace amenity • Agri-environment – this overarching issue should address climate change if they are to be sustainable. Generally they need to take a holistic approach including other rural aspects such as forestry, flood management, water, socio-economic factors etc. • Land Use/Management – pressures from a range of impacts derived from above and integrating them to deliver sustainable development

  32. Climate change impacts on AOBs • Climate change is a pressure/opportunity that is cross cutting • What did the heat of last summer do to your area? • How was your area affected by the flooding in recent winters? • Sustainable development • Conservation – climate is a force for change • Resources – soil, water, biodiversity, landscape character • Oportunities • Recreation and tourism • Energy – renewables, disruption to supplies • Historic houses, parks and gardens • Coastal locations

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