UKCP18–The Met Office’s New Junk Climate Projections

By Paul Homewood

As promised, the low down on the newly published UK Climate Projections 2018 from the Met Office:


The UK’s most comprehensive picture yet of how the climate could change over the next century has been launched today by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

The UK Climate Projections 2018 (UKCP18) include:

  • UK’s most comprehensive projections of climate change 
  • Data gives most detailed picture yet of temperature, rainfall and sea level rise over next century
  • Cutting-edge science to help businesses and homes plan for the future

Using the latest science from the Met Office and around the world, the UK Climate Projections 2018 illustrate a range of future climate scenarios until 2100 – showing increasing summer temperatures, more extreme weather and rising sea levels are all on the horizon and urgent international action is needed.

To help homes and businesses plan for the future, the results set out a range of possible outcomes over the next century based on different rates of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The high emission scenario shows:

  • Summer temperatures could be up to 5.4 °C hotter by 2070, while winters could be up to 4.2 °C warmer
  • The chance of a summer as hot as 2018 is around 50 % by 2050
  • Sea levels in London could rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100
  • Average summer rainfall could decrease by up to 47 % by 2070, while there could be up to 35 % more precipitation in winter

Sea levels are projected to rise over the 21st century and beyond under all emission scenarios – meaning we can expect to see an increase in both the frequency and magnitude of extreme water levels around the UK coastline. Even in the low emission scenario, the projections show the UK’s average yearly temperature could be up to 2.3 °C higher by the end of the century.

The UK already leads the world in tackling climate change – with emissions reduced by more than 40 % since 1990. However these projections show a future we could face without further action.

UKCP18 can now be used as a tool to guide decision-making and boost resilience – whether that’s through increasing flood defences, designing new infrastructure or adjusting ways of farming for drier summers.

Speaking today from the Science Museum in London, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "This cutting-edge science opens our eyes to the extent of the challenge we face, and shows us a future we want to avoid.

“The UK is already a global leader in tackling climate change, cutting emissions by more than 40 % since 1990 – but we must go further.

“By having this detailed picture of our changing climate, we can ensure we have the right infrastructure to cope with weather extremes, homes and businesses can adapt, and we can make decisions for the future accordingly.”

Today’s projections are the first major update of climate projections in nearly 10 years, building on the success of UKCP09 and ensuring the most up-to-date scientific evidence informs decision-making.

With climate change a global challenge, for the first time, UKCP presents international projections, allowing other nations to use this data to gauge future risks for food supply chains, or check rainfall projections for the likelihood of localised flooding.

Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser Ian Boyd said: “Climate change will affect everybody. UKCP18 is designed to help everybody make better decisions, from those buying a house to people making large investments in infrastructure. It has been produced using state-of-the-art methods.”

Met Office Chief Scientist Stephen Belcher said: “The new science in UKCP18 enables us to move from looking at the trends associated with climate change, to describing how seasonal weather patterns will change. For example, heatwaves like the one we experienced in the summer of 2018 could be normal for the UK by mid-century.”

The projections are very little changed from the 2009 versions, although the forecast ranges seem to be slightly smaller. Indeed, the Met Office actually point out that UKPC18 is broadly consistent with UKPC09.

So let’s look at those four highlighted predictions:

  • Summer temperatures could be up to 5.4 °C hotter by 2070, while winters could be up to 4.2 °C warmer

This prediction bears absolutely no resemblance to what has actually been happening:


Average summer temperatures are less than a degree higher than in the 1930s. Moreover they have not increased since 2003.

As for average winter temperatures, they are no higher now than in the 1920s, and have been falling since the 2009 projections were made:


There is nothing in the actual data to support either of the Met Office’s projections.



  • The chance of a summer as hot as 2018 is around 50 % by 2050

Since 1976 there have been four other comparable summers to 2018:





In other words, we have had four in the last 24 years. Since 2006, we have gone twelve summers with only this year standing out.

What connects all of those five summers is “weather”. It is the shape of the jet stream which determines whether we have a hot summer or not. CO2 has nothing to do with it at all.

Unless the Met Office can show that emissions of CO2 bend the jet stream, their prediction is meaningless junk.

  • Sea levels in London could rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100

This would equate to a rise of 14mm a year from now.

The current rate of rise on the East Coast is 1.54mm a year, based on the last 50 years. This is a slower rate of rise than the overall period since 1895, so sea level rise is not accelerating.



Again, the Met Office projection does not reflect reality.

  • Average summer rainfall could decrease by up to 47 % by 2070, while there could be up to 35 % more precipitation in winter

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that, once again, the actual data says that something completely different has been happening:



Summer rainfall has actually been increasing in recent decades, and the average is back to where it was in the 1920s.

Meanwhile, contrary to popular myth, average rainfall in winter has changed little over the period since 1910.

Met Office Fail

What has happened in the past is not necessarily a guide to what will happen in the future,

However, it is surely behoven of the Met Office to explain that their projections have no basis in reality, and to explain why things will suddenly be different in future?

They have of course had nearly a decade since they made similar projections in 2009. So they have had plenty of time to find out that the data so far has not matched those predictions.

Should not that be a warning to them that their computer models might not be all they are cracked up to be?


November 28, 2018 at 05:39AM

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