Homes and communities across the country have felt the full force of torrential downpours in recent weeks. And the UK’s uplands could in future see significantly more annual rainfall than is currently being predicted in national climate models, according to new research by the University of Plymouth.
Scientists analysed rainfall records from the 1870s to the present day and compared them against those featured in the Met Office’s UK Climate Projections 2018 (UKCP18) report.
Their findings show that there has been a significant increase in spring, autumn and winter precipitation, greatest in upland windward areas of the region, with winter increases broadly consistent with UKCP18 projections.
However, their results show for spring, summer and autumn precipitation there could be large divergence by the mid to late 21st century, with the observed mismatch greatest in upland areas.
The study, published in Climate Research, was conducted by research student Thomas Murphy and academics from the University’s School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science and School of Biological and Marine Sciences.
Dr Paul Lunt, Associate Professor in Environmental Science and one of the study’s authors, said:
“Our study helps contextualise the latest UK climate change projections, and suggest caution is required when making assumptions on climate impacts based on climate models. Current models predict that by 2050, summer rainfall on Dartmoor will fall by as much as 20%, but our results from past records show that in the uplands it is on an upward trajectory.