Search site

What is UKCP09?

Plant Image

The UK Climate Projections (UKCP09) provide climate information designed to help those needing to plan how they will adapt to a changing climate. The data is focussed on the UK, and is free of charge.

Please note that the UK Climate Projections should be used as part of an adaptation plan - see the Environment Agency's Climate Ready support service for guidance on adaptation and how to begin the process.

Past and current global greenhouse gas emissions mean that the world is already committed to some level of future climate change, so adaptation to address the resulting consequences is important.

The Projections are presented for three different future scenarios representing High, Medium and Low greenhouse gas emissions.

The types of climate information provided are:

  • Observed climate data (20th and 21st century historical information about temperature, precipitation, storminess, sea surface temperatures and sea level)
  • Climate change projections (for temperature, precipitation, air pressure, cloud and humidity)
  • Marine & coastal projections (for sea level rise, storm surge, sea surface and sub-surface temperature, salinity, currents, and waves).

UKCP09 is the fifth generation of climate change information for the UK, and its projections are based on a new methodology designed by the Met Office. Climate science and computer modelling have advanced significantly - UKCP09 reflects scientists' best understanding of how the climate system operates, how it might change in the future, and allows a measure of the uncertainty in future climate projections to be included. No climate model can give a single definite answer to what the future will look like.

Users have asked for information about the uncertainties associated with future climate information. UKCP09 shows a range of possible outcomes and the of each outcome, based on how much evidence there is for different levels of future climate change.

The Projections were created with a range of uses in mind. The checklist below might help identify whether you could benefit from using UKCP09. If the answer is 'yes' to any of these, then it would be worth taking a more in depth look.

Is the organisation, policy or programme:

  • affected by changes to averages (like temperature or precipitation) or extremes of weather or climate;
  • taking decisions or making investments with long-lifetimes, such as construction;
  • making significant investments or has high value at stake, such as protecting life or natural environment;
  • providing or supporting critical national infrastructure, like power supply; or
  • taking decisions with significant impacts, perhaps creating a technical standard, that cannot be changed for more than a decade?

Support for UKCP09 users is provided by online guidance and regularly-updated FAQs, as well as a Helpdesk. Training sessions and an e-learning course are also available to help in using UKCP09.