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Soil moisture

'Soil moisture' is a measure of the amount of water contained within the soil.

In detail

It was not possible to create probabilistic projections of changes in soil moisture for UKCP09. Different modelling groups use different definitions of this variable, so it was not possible to construct Pdfs combining results from variants of Met Office models with those from other climate models. Without this key aspect of our methodology, it was not possible to provide probabilistic projections. 

In the absence of probabilistic projections for soil moisture in UKCP09, three possible alternative sources of projections of transient changes during the 21st century are available:

  • The 17-member ensemble of variants of the Met Office GCM
  • The 11-member ensemble of variants of the Met Office RCM
  • The ensemble of other global climate models, available as part of the CMIP3 project

Data from the first two (Met Office GCM and RCM) is available from the Climate Impacts LINK project, operated by BADC. It is recommended that those needing soil moisture information use changes from the 11-member Met Office RCM ensemble in the first instance.

Find out more

  • Variables for which probabilistic projections could not be provided in are outlined in section 5.10 of the UKCP09 Briefing Report. More details are provided in section 4.8 of the UKCP09 Climate Change Projections report.
  • The 11-member RCM data is described in the Reports & guidance section and in section 5 of the UKCP09 Climate Change Projections report.
  • More details about the climate models used in UKCP09 are given in Box 2.1 of the UKCP09 Climate Change Projections report. A commentary about the strengths and weaknesses of climate models is given in  Annex 3.
  • For an overview of how probabilistic projections are created and presented, go to Box 3 of the UKCP09 Briefing report. More details are provided in Chapter 3 of the UKCP09 Climate Change Projections report, including an overview of the methodology.
  • Recent trends in wind speed are presented in the Observed Trends report.