Missing April showers

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Achsah Carter
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

According to the UK’s Met office, April 2011 was the warmest on record with temperatures 3.7 °C above the 1971–2000 average and parts of South and East England receiving less than 10% of normal April rainfall. This may just be a case of erratic weather, but it gives us a taste of what a changing climate could feel like.

Climate is the average weather in an area over the last thirty years and the UK Climate Impact Projections (UKCIP09) predict the UK is on course to experience hotter, drier summers and warmer, wetter winters (see slide 11). April 2011 was both hotter and drier than the worst predictions for 2020. UKCIP09’s most extreme prediction for 2020 (if business continued as usual and there was no reduction in carbon emissions) is that average UK summer temperatures will increase by 0.4 to 2.8°C. Even with one of the most advanced national climate change estimate programs in the world, we still cannot know exactly how the climate will change in future though.

However, we can identify possible risks and opportunities and prepare ourselves as much as possible. Indeed, the UK government has recently mandated that 91 critical organisations, such as water utilities, electricity, gas and transport, submit reports on their climate change adaptation plans. An interim report has found that most companies are assessing the risks, but not enough have started taking concrete actions.

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