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Review of UK Climate change Indicators


Cannell, M and Brown, T and Sparks, T and Marsh, T and Parr, T and George, G and Palutikof, J and Lister, D and Dockerty, T and Leaper, R, Review of UK Climate change Indicators, Confidential Report to DEFRA (2003) [Contract Report]

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1. The list of 34 Indicators of Climate Change in the UK that were published in 1999 were reviewed at an expert meeting in March 2003, with representatives of the Devolved Administrations. Notes from that meeting are presented. Notes are also given from an expert meeting held in November 2000, when the opinions of 21 respondents to the 1999 consultation were considered.

2. Data were sought to update the series for all 34 Indicators. Data were obtained up to 2002 for 25 Indicators and up to 2001 for as further 6 Indicators. The use of irrigation water for agriculture (Indicator 19) was updated to 2000. Data were unobtainable for 2001 for Indicators 11 and 31, owing to Foot and Mouth Disease restricted access. No updates were possible for potato yields (Indicator 21) or upstream movement of salmon (Indicator 33) and it is suggested that these Indicators be discontinued.

3. The following data series were completely or partially revised owing to improvements in definition or calculation: predominance of westerly weather (NAO, Indicator 4), river flows (Indicator 6), groundwater storage in chalk in southeast Britain (Indicator 8, Holt replaced by Stonor), insect appearance, activity and abundance (Indicators 27 and 28) and small bird population (Indicator 31).

4. The website ( has been updated with the new data and the website text has been revised as appropriate.

5. The updated data revealed the following key trends:

  1. - The 10-year period 1993-2002 was the warmest on record in central England, 0.68 C above the 1961-1990 mean;
  2. - the average number of hot days (at or over 20 C) in 1993-2002 in central England was 7.4, over twice the long-term average;
  3. - in the last four years, the seasonal distribution of precipitation, and the gradient from southeast to northwest Britain, have been close to the long-term average;
  4. - warm January-March temperatures in recent years have been reflected in lower gas consumption in this winter quarter;
  5. - recent years have seen large increases in (i) the number of Thames Barrier closures, (ii) cases of Lyme disease, (iii) proportion of potato crop irrigated, and (iv) areas of forage maize, but these are not wholly attributable to climate change. Meanwhile, areas of vines have slightly decreased;
  6. - yearly changes in the timing of natural events continue to reflect warmer temperatures.

Item Details

Item Type:Contract Report
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Climate change impacts and adaptation
Research Field:Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)
UTAS Author:Leaper, R (Dr Rebecca Leaper)
ID Code:70861
Year Published:2003
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2011-07-04
Last Modified:2014-03-06

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