In the UK, the last 30-year period (1991-2020) was 0.9°C warmer than the preceding 30 years (1961-1990). (source: UK Met Office). The UK Met Office has more information about climate change and trends in the UK.

Future climate projections for the UK

The Met Office's Hadley Centre make projections of the UK's future climate. The latest projections are known as UKCP18. The following information is sourced from the UK Climate Projections: Headline Findings July 2021.

The predictions are based on three scenarios: high emissions, medium emissions and low emissions.

Below we have shown a selection of projectons for the UK.

Future change in mean air temperature over land

  • By the end of the 21st century, all areas of the UK are projected to be warmer, more so in summer than in winter.
  • Under the high emission scenario, the amount of warming by 2070 is projected to be between 0.9 °C to 5.4 °C in summer, and 0.7 °C to 4.2 °C in winter.
  • Hot summers are expected to become more common. The temperature of hot summer days is expected to increase by between 3.8 °C to 6.8 °C by 2070, under a high emissions scenario, along with an increase in the frequency of hot spells.

Future changes in rainfall over land

  • By 2070, under the high emission scenario, summers are generally expected to be drier than at present, whilst winters are projected to be wetter.
  • Models indicate that, whilst summers will be drier, the intensity of summer rainfall events will increase, which could make flood events more frequent and more severe.

Projected sea level rise

  • The pattern of sea level rise is not expected to be uniform across the UK.
  • For London, sea level rise by the end of the century could be as much as 1.15 m under the high emission scenario.
  • For Edinburgh, under the same high emission scenario, sea level could rise by 0.90 m by the end of the century.
  • Longer-term projections to 2300 indicate that sea level will continue to rise beyond the 2100 projected values.