Warm, wet winters for future years?

5th January, 2016

For many Brits, this Christmas hasn’t been white – it’s been wet. On Christmas Day the army was deployed across Cumbria, which had already been hit hard by Storm Desmond earlier in December, to build up flood defences. The Environment Agency issued over 110 flood alerts and warnings ahead of Storm Eva, which reached northern England and Wales on Christmas night, and Scotland by Boxing Day.

It’s been the wettest December since records began for Scotland and Wales – the second wettest for the UK overall. Rainfall records were broken. Furthermore, the UK’s average temperature in December hit a record-breaking 8°C, double the long-term average. 

So, why has it been so warm and wet? Climate change and El Niño are the prime suspects, but scientists are reluctant to blame them entirely. A study submitted to a peer-review journal suggested climate change increased the likelihood of storms like Desmond by 40 per cent – but ‘with an uncertainty range of five to 80 per cent’. Environment secretary Liz Truss says climate change ‘potentially’ caused the flooding, but among meteorologists, the general consensus is that climate change and El Niño simply made a wet and stormy season worse.

Speaking to the Independent, Paul Williams of Reading University said: 

“Simple physics tells us that warmer air can hold more water vapour. The global warming that we have experienced so far has increased the atmosphere’s moisture storage capacity by about seven per cent. This is undisputed science and it clearly increases the potential for extreme rainfall and flooding.” 

2015 was the warmest year globally, and scientists are expecting 2016 to be warmer still. The future impact of climate change on Britain is uncertain. Heavier rainfall, rising sea levels, and hotter weather are all possibilities – as are severe weather events such as flooding, heatwaves, gales and snowfall. Other reports state that solar cycles will cause a ‘mini ice age’ in 2030. Scientists are unsure what the effects will be, but they are in agreement that climate change will play a major role in our lives in years to come.

At Ice Watch, we’re prepared for the threat of extreme winter weather – are you? Contact us today to find out how we can help ‘future-proof’ your business from the threat of snow and ice.
The Impact of Climate Change on Britain

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