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Title: Climate change and water in the UK – past changes and future prospects
Authors: Watts, Glen
Battarbee, Richard W.
Bloomfield, John P.
Crossman, Jill
Daccache, Andre
Durance, Isabelle
Elliott, J. Alex
Garner, Grace
Hannaford, Jamie
Hannah, David M.
Hess, Tim
Jackson, Christopher R.
Kay, Alison L.
Kernan, Martin
Knox, Jerry
Mackay, Jonathan
Monteith, Donald T.
Ormerod, Steve J.
Rance, Jemima
Stuart, Marianne E.
Wade, Andrew J.
Wade, Steven D.
Weatherhead, Keith
Whitehead, Paul G.
Wilby, Robert L.
Keywords: Adaptation
Climate change
Climate change impacts
Freshwater ecosystems
Hydrological change
Water environment
Water quality change
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd / © The Author(s)
Citation: Watts, G. ... et al, 2015. Climate change and water in the UK – past changes and future prospects. Progress in Physical Geography, 39 (1), pp. 6 - 28.
Abstract: Climate change is expected to modify rainfall, temperature and catchment hydrological responses across the world, and adapting to these water-related changes is a pressing challenge. This paper reviews the impact of anthropogenic climate change on water in the UK and looks at projections of future change. The natural variability of the UK climate makes change hard to detect; only historical increases in air temperature can be attributed to anthropogenic climate forcing, but over the last 50 years more winter rainfall has been falling in intense events. Future changes in rainfall and evapotranspiration could lead to changed flow regimes and impacts on water quality, aquatic ecosystems and water availability. Summer flows may decrease on average, but floods may become larger and more frequent. River and lake water quality may decline as a result of higher water temperatures, lower river flows and increased algal blooms in summer, and because of higher flows in the winter. In communicating this important work, researchers should pay particular attention to explaining confidence and uncertainty clearly. Much of the relevant research is either global or highly localized: decision-makers would benefit from more studies that address water and climate change at a spatial and temporal scale appropriate for the decisions they make.
Description: This is an open access article it is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed.
Sponsor: This work was funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (project WC1052) and supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Environment Agency.
Version: Published
DOI: 10.1177/0309133314542957
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/17683
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0309133314542957
ISSN: 0309-1333
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Geography and Environment)

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