Days with extreme rainfall accumulations will become more frequent throughout this century, according to a new study by scientists at the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre – a leading center for the study of scientific issues associated with climate change.
The research used the record rainfall observed in the UK on October 3, 2020, as an example and found that while in a natural environment, with no influence from human induced climate change, an event similar or more extreme would be a 1 in 300 year event, it is now a 1 in 100 year event in the current climate.
According to the study, by 2100 under a medium emissions scenario (SSP2 4.5) that level of extreme daily rainfall could be seen every 30 years, making it 10 times more likely than in a natural environment.
October 3 had average rainfall across the UK of 31.7mm, making it the wettest day since records began in 1891.
Lead author of the paper Dr Nikos Christidis, senior climate scientist in the Met Office Hadley Centre, said, “Our study shows that in a medium emissions scenario these sorts of rainfall extremes could become much more frequent, reinforcing the need to plan for the consequences of a warming global climate. We are also now starting to see how more frequent extreme rainfall events are already impacting the UK, showing that human induced climate change is already having an impact on the weather we experience in the UK.”
In addition to increased frequency of extreme rainfall events, the research also found that human-induced climate change has and will continue to result in more variation in rainfall across the UK. This means that rather than many moderate rain events, there is likely to be very wet or very dry spells.