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UKCP18 Project

UKCP18 Project announcement

Following the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change in December 2015, the UK Climate Projections will have a major upgrade to make sure decision-makers have the most up-to-date information on the future of our climate. This was announced by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 15 January 2016.

The UKCP18 project will build upon the current set of projections (UKCP09), which provide crucial information about how we can expect our climate to change over future decades. These tools help decision-makers assess the full range of risks from the changing climate and advise how we can adapt.

Benefiting from £12m of government investment, the UKCP18 project is harnessing the latest science and supercomputing capabilities from the Met Office Hadley Centre, combined with the expertise of the Environment Agency and Defra to build on the success of UKCP09.

The UKCP18 project will update the UKCP09 projections over UK land areas and update UKCP09 projections of sea-level rise, giving greater regional detail, further analysis of the risks we face, both nationally and globally, and provide more information on potential extremes and impacts of climate change.

Defra's Chief Scientific Advisor, Ian Boyd said:

"UKCP18 is using the world-class scientific capabilities of the Met Office to ensure that we continue to have the best available information on the full range of climate risks to inform UK adaptation. We know how vital this information is for the future of climate resilience. User feedback will be invaluable in shaping what is delivered through this project."

Project progress

The UK Climate Projections 2018 (UKCP18) project outputs will have a phased release, with the core raw data products coming out in May 2018 followed by a launch of the full UKCP18 data interface and support products in November 2018. Releasing the core set of UKCP18 data in May 2018 will allow academics and other researchers to use it to support the next Climate Change Risk Assessment.  Following feedback from the Peer Review Panel this will now include a new downscaled product at 12km resolution. The November launch will provide a package of products designed to meet the needs of a wide range of users and will complement the data released in May to provide up-to-date information on how the climate of the UK may change over the rest of the century. In addition, the cutting edge high resolution (2.2km) projections, which are intended to provide information on high impact events such as localised heavy rainfall in summer, will be delivered in a similar timescale as the November launch. If you have any queries, please contact the UKCP18 project team.

UKCP18 Project Technical Description [13kb]

UKCP18 will use Representative Concentration Pathways

The next set of UK climate projections will use new scenarios called Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) [285kb], which were used in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. These are an update to the existing emissions scenarios used in UKCP09, which did not consider specific climate change mitigation strategies to limit emissions. 

From climate projections to impacts information

UKCP18 will provide the latest information on our future climate. We know that many users and decision makers want to know about the climate impacts related to these projections, such as future flood risk or heat stress. It is not within the scope of the UKCP18 project to provide impacts information. However, the UKCP18 project team has worked with potential users to understand what information and products are of most use, and provided a overview [264kb] of these needs alongside summaries [501kb] for a number of topic areas. You can use this information to develop your own research requirements or in discussion with your wider network.

For further information on UKCP18, please see the UKCP18 Project Q&A.