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Making use of climate projections: the challenge of spanning the range of 21st century weather

Tuesday 10 October 2017, 14.00-15.00
School of Earth & Environment Seminar Rooms 8.119
Prof Jason Lowe, Priestley International Centre for Climate
Priestley Climate Exchange/ICAS Inaugural Seminar


This seminar will discuss the need for new climate projections for the UK, with details of the approaches being used in the UK Climate Projection 18 (UKCP18) project and the types of data and information that will be released next year. The aim is to produce scenarios of what the UK’s future weather might look like that are useful to researchers interested in a wide range of physical and socio-economic climate impacts  such as flooding, drought, increased heat stress and threats to food security. These impacts and their potential adaptations are relevant to multiple industry sectors including building, transport, energy production, utility supplies and farming.

The seminar will discuss how we are taking advantage of improvements in the science and availability of greater computing power, plus how we are responding to changing user needs in order to develop new information for decision making. It will include details about how we are making new estimates of the range of future climate change and realisations of future weather and climates on global and local scales.

A particular challenge is how we think about high-end climate change i.e. extreme high and low climate projects in the tail of the range of uncertainty. These ‘H++ scenarios’ are associated with very high levels of impact and can be used to stress test climate adaptation plans. We will consider how this has been handled in the past and the latest thinking on producing user relevant information on this aspect of potential futures.

The seminar will conclude with an agenda for future research in the physical sciences, which is needed to better characterise high-end climate change. It will also discuss the need for more input from a number of disciplines, many of which are well represented at the University of Leeds, including decision theory and science communication, in order to make this information fit for the purpose of helping to protect the UK from the worst impacts of a changing climate.


Jason Lowe is a new Priestley Chair in interdisciplinary climate research and Head of Climate Services at the Met Office Hadley Centre. He is interested in both mitigation and adaptation responses to the challenges from future climate change. His inaugural seminar will focus on how the latest climate scenarios for the United Kingdom region are being produced and will be accessible to people from a range of disciplines including those researching physical climate science, climate impacts and adaptation (e.g. to avoid damage from flooding, drought and high temperatures), decision science and science communication.

The seminar will be followed by coffee and cake in the SEE foyer

This is a joint seminar for the Priestley Centre’s Climate Exchange series and the ICAS inaugural seminar.