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Storm Isha: How Climate Change is Transforming UK Weather

Storms are currently hitting the UK

Storm Isha

As Storm Isha unleashes its fury upon the UK, with winds reaching a staggering 99mph, it prompts contemplation on the role of climate change in shaping this emerging weather pattern. The once-rare occurrence of such intense storms is becoming more prevalent year after year, raising concerns about the evolving climate in the UK.

The UK Climate Landscape

The UK boasts a temperate maritime climate, characterized by cool and mild conditions with unpredictable weather changes. The intersection of warm tropical air and cold arctic air in the atmosphere above us fuels the variability in our weather and contributes to the formation of severe storms.

Climate Change Impact on UK Weather

How will climate change affect the UK? The forecast points towards warmer and wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, and an increase in the frequency and intensity of weather extremes. While the general weather variability will persist, the intensity of certain weather types is expected to change.

Recent climate statistics for the UK reveal a surge in extreme weather events, with records being broken more frequently than in previous decades.

The Records Speak: UK Climate Trends

Tree downed in the recent UK storms

In 2019, the UK experienced four new national temperature records, highlighting the increasing heat levels. The subsequent year, 2020, brought extreme weather events such as Storms Ciara and Dennis, the wettest February on record, the sunniest spring, and the third-hottest day on record.

Trends over the past decade indicate a rise in temperature extremes, with seven out of the last ten summers reaching temperatures of 34°C, compared to just seven out of the previous fifty summers.

Peering into the Future: UK Climate in 2070

Projections for 2070 suggest a significant shift in climate patterns. Summers are expected to be warmer by 1 to 6°C, with up to 60% less rainfall, leading to drier conditions. Winters, on the other hand, are forecasted to be 1 to 4.5°C warmer with up to 30% more rainfall.

When will the Impact be Evident?

Climate change is already underway, with certain variables taking time to show clear increases beyond natural variability. While there are ranges of possible changes, high emissions scenarios increase the likelihood of record hot temperatures or heavy rainfall events in the future.

A Changed Climate: Observations and Realities

Observations confirm that the UK has warmed by 1°C since the 1950s, evidenced by increased sea temperatures, reduced frost and snow, and a prevalence of longer warm spells. The occurrence of extreme weather events, such as Storm Ciarán in November 2023, further highlights the changing climate landscape.

Storm Ciarán wreaked havoc across Europe, causing casualties and destruction. The tragic incidents, including fatalities and damages, underscore the real and immediate consequences of intensified weather patterns.

As Storm Isha batters the UK, it serves as a poignant reminder of the evolving climate crisis. The intertwining of climate change with our weather patterns necessitates a collective effort to mitigate its impact and adapt to the new normal that is unfolding before us.

UK Snow storm


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