Future Weather Predicitons
Implications of climate change predictions for the Isle of Wight
The UK Climate Projections have put together various maps and graphs to show the expected changes in temperature, sea level and precipitation, depending on 3 emissions scenarios (low, medium and high). These can be used to see the possible effects of global warming on the climate in the UK and plan for the future. For an explanation of these graphs see the information in the 'related' box on this page.
It is important to understand that these predictions are made by computer models, and therefore come with some uncertainties. There is still a body of opinion that sees natural variations in the climate as far outweighing the effects of pollution caused by human activity in governing the nature of our future climate, some linking changes in our climate to natural cycles and ice-ages. However, with more evidence of changes to our climate, it is necessary to consider what it would mean to the IOW if these predictions turn out to be accurate, and to work out how we can respond.
It is also important to realize that climate is driven by global effects. Reducing our output of greenhouse gases on the IOW is desirable, since we need to do our bit towards achieving global reductions, but this will not have any impact on our local climate as long as emissions continue to grow in other parts of the world . We therefore need to think in terms of ADAPTING to climate change, rather than believing that we have the power to prevent it by local action.
If the climate change projections are correct, the main factors to which we will have to respond are increasing maximum temperatures in summer and rising sea levels. Using the most extreme predictions shown on by UK Climate Projections, by the end of this century the IOW will regularly experience summer temperatures of 30°C, and sea levels will rise by nearly a meter, creating great challenges when it comes to defending our coastline. Although rainfall is not projected to decrease significantly, hotter summers will also put greater pressure on our water supply, especially if hotter summers lead to an increase in the number of visitors.
The IOW council has complied a shoreline management plan, to look at the risks associated with coastal evolution and the schemes that are needed in response to the changes that are taking place.