The IOP’s journal Environmental Research Letters published the study, which revealed the predictions for the period between 2061 and 2100.
In the south-east, the most intense precipitation will fall in the late autumn instead of late summer, while in the north-western part, the shift will be from December to November. No change was predicted for the remaining regions of the country.
According to the lead author of the publication, Anne Schindler from the University of Giessen and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the risk of flooding would be much higher since the shift in precipitation patterns would coincide with the maximum capacity of water in river catchments.
To predict of these changes in patterns, the researchers used 12 climate model simulations for two periods- 2021-2060 and 2061-2100. The models were forced with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) A1B scenario.
In addition, the team simulated the range of intensity of rainfall throughout the year, establishing that it is most likely to increase in western regions of the UK. These findings, however, would need further investigation before they can be approved.
Schindler explains that different factors are responsible for the extreme precipitation in the two regions of interest. In the north-west, the highest influence is attributed to westerly airflow, while in the south-east, these are the easterly flows from the North Sea. The predicted shifts would most likely occur in the event of changes in these circulation systems.
The authors are aware of the limitations associated with rainfall simulations using climate models, as well as the natural variability of rainfall from year to year. However, the long history of monitoring rain in the UK provides enough information for predicting the effects of future climate change.