Beast from the East

Broad General Education (BGE)

Second Level: People, Place and the Environment

I can describe the physical processes of a natural disaster (extreme weather event)
and discuss its impact on people and the landscape
.

  • Describes the causes of a natural disaster such as a volcano, earthquake or extreme weather event.
  • Describes the impact of the natural disaster giving at least three examples for people and one for the landscape. Impact can be positive or negative.

Depressions: Case Study Template and Storm Eunice Example

Download editable worksheet.
This can be used to create a case study of a named depression in the UK. Below, we have given an example of how the worksheet could be used to create a case study of Storm Eunice.
Depressions are low pressure weather systems which bring rain, wind and sometimes snow to the UK. They are responsible for much of our extreme weather.   A depression is easily recognisable on weather charts and satellite images. It has low pressure in the centre with warm, cold and occluded fronts and a hook shaped cloud.
Storm Eunice cloud and wind

In the UK, storms have been given names since 2015. A storm is named if it is likely to have a significant impact on the UK or Ireland.

  1. Write down the names of any recent storms you can remember. Eunice
  2. Use the Met Office storm centre index to discover the date that one of those storms had an impact on the UK/ Ireland (if your storm isn’t in the current year, scroll to the bottom of the page to the Related Links section for previous years).

Storm Name: Eunice Date: 18th February 2022

Now download the weather charts for the storm. 

In the bottom left of the page, where is says ‘Archiv – Basistermin, enter the date of the storm in the format day – month – year

3) Copy and paste the weather map onto this document.

4) Put a red circle around the centre of the storm. This is marked by a cross and the pressure value at the centre of the storm is given.

Now use the single forward arrow to advance the chart by 6 hours.

5) Copy and paste the weather map onto this document.

6) Put a red circle around the centre of the storm

Storm Eunice

Now use the single forward arrow to advance the chart by 6 hours.

7) Copy and paste the weather map onto this document.

8) Put a red circle around the centre of the storm

9) Now complete the table using information from your three weather maps:

Eunice centre data

Winds rotate around a depression in an anticlockwise direction, following the pressure contours. 

10) Use ‘insert’ and ‘shapes’ to add arrows showing the wind direction around the storm to the first of your weather maps.

In addition to naming storms, sometimes colour coded weather warnings are given. The colour of the warning depends on a combination of how much damage the storm is expected to do, and how likely that damage is. So a storm that is very likely to cause a lot of damage is given a red warning, but a yellow warning could mean that a storm is either very likely to cause a bit of damage, or unlikely to cause a lot of damage.

weather warning matrix

11) Go back to the Met Office storm centre https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/uk-storm-centre/index and click on your storm’s name – this should give you a summary sheet about your storm. Scroll through it – were any weather warnings issued? List them below, or write ‘none’.

Eunice warnings

Extension

Use the Met Office summary sheet you just opened, or BBC news https://www.bbc.co.uk/news to write a paragraph about the impacts of your storm.

Storm Eunice had significant impacts, including four fatalities and significant wind damage. However, with weather warnings issued almost a week in advance, the precautionary measures people were able to take, for example closing schools, meant that damage was minimised. 

 

Core Maths – Extreme Weather

Resource produced in collaboration with MEI

Brief overview of session ‘logic’

  • Do reports of extreme cold weather provide evidence that global warming is not happening?
  • Show the New York Times graphs of summer temperature distributions for the Northern Hemisphere for different periods.
  • Interrogate/critique these graphs
  • The distributions of temperatures are approximately Normal distributions and the mean and standard deviation both increase as the time period becomes more recent.
  • Use the dynamic bell curve to calculate probabilities of different temperatures in different time periods.
  • Despite the mean temperature increasing, the standard deviation also increasing means that the probability of extreme low temperatures increases.
  • Normal distributions and bell curves can explain a higher frequency of extreme cold weather despite global warming.

Mathematical opportunities offered

  • Interpretation of data, statistics, graphs, infographics in context
  • Critiquing graphs
  • Reading scales
  • Using standard form to write very large or very small numbers
  • Fitting a Normal distribution or bell curve to a graph
  • Exploring the effect of adjusting mean and standard deviation on a bell curve
  • Understanding that probabilities can be represented and calculated using areas
  • Analysing and comparing data in order to develop and present a conclusion.

Key Stage 3 – Extreme Weather

Resource produced in collaboration with MEI

Brief overview of session ‘logic’

  • Do reports of extreme cold weather provide evidence that global warming is not happening?
  • Show the New York Times graphs of summer temperature distributions for the Northern Hemisphere for different periods.
  • Interrogate/critique these graphs
  • The distributions of temperatures are approximately Normal distributions and the mean and standard deviation both increase as the time period becomes more recent.
  • Use the dynamic bell curve to calculate probabilities of different temperatures in different time periods.
  • Despite the mean temperature increasing, the standard deviation also increasing means that the probability of extreme low temperatures increases.
  • Normal distributions and bell curves can explain a higher frequency of extreme cold weather despite global warming.

Mathematical opportunities offered

  • Interpretation of data, statistics, graphs, infographics in context
  • Critiquing graphs
  • Reading scales
  • Using standard form to write very large or very small numbers
  • Fitting a Normal distribution or bell curve to a graph
  • Exploring the effect of adjusting mean and standard deviation on a bell curve
  • Understanding that probabilities can be represented and calculated using areas
  • Analysing and comparing data in order to develop and present a conclusion

IPCC 2021 – Which Regions have been affected the most by climate change?

“A.3 Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5”1

Consider the three following maps with your students, or alternatively focus in on one of the maps.

Heavy Precipitation

“A.3.2 The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most land area for which observational data are sufficient for trend analysis (high confidence), and human-induced climate change is likely the main driver. Human-induced climate change has contributed to increases in agricultural and ecological droughts in some regions due to increased land evapotranspiration (medium confidence).”1

IPCC precipitation

Source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

  1. Study carefully the map above which shows an assessment of the observed change in heavy precipitation across the globe.
  2. How many of the regions showing on the map have experienced an increase in heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                            
  3. How many of the regions shown on the map have experienced a decrease in heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                            
  4. What is the situation in the region where you live with regards to changes in heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                            
  5. Identify the region where there is high confidence in the human contribution to the observed change.                                                                                                                                                            
  6. Use TEA (Trend, Evidence, Anomoly) to describe the patterns shown on the map above. Which regions have had an increase in observed heavy precipitation? Which regions have limited evidence?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  7. Suggest what impacts an increase in heavy precipitation might have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  8. Look closely at the areas that have limited data and/or literature. Can you suggest reasons why these areas have limited data and literature in relation to heavy precipitation?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Hot Extremes

“A.3.1 It is virtually certain that hot extremes (including heatwaves) have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions since the 1950s, while cold extremes (including cold waves) have become less frequent and less severe, with high confidence that human-induced climate change is the main driver14 of these changes. Some recent hot extremes observed over the past decade would have been extremely unlikely to occur without human influence on the climate system. Marine heatwaves have approximately doubled in frequency since the 1980s (high confidence), and human influence has very likely contributed to most of them since at least 2006.” 1

IPCC hot extremes

Source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

The IPCC define an extreme weather event as “an event that is rare at a particular place and time of year. Definitions of rare vary, but an extreme weather event would normally be as rare as or rarer” than the top or bottom 10% of observed events. Therefore, for hot extremes these would be periods where temperatures are in the top 10% for that region. 1

  1. Study the map above carefully which shows an assessment of the observed change in hot extremes across the globe.
  2. How many of the regions showing on the map have experienced an increase in hot extremes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  3. How many of the regions shown on the map have experienced a decrease in hot extremes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  4. What is the situation in the region where you live with regards to changes in hot extremes?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  5. Identify the region where there is high confidence in the human contribution to the observed change.                                                                                                                                                            
  6. Describe the patterns shown in the regions that have had an increase in observed hot extremes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  7. Suggest what impacts an increase in hot extremes might have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  8. Look closely at the areas that have limited data and/or literature on both the hot extremes and heavy precipitation maps. There are more regions with limited data on the heavy precipitation map.  Can you suggest reasons why?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Agricultural and Ecological Drought

“A.3.5 Human influence has likely increased the chance of compound extreme events18 since the 1950s. This includes increases in the frequency of concurrent heatwaves and droughts on the global scale (high confidence)”1

IPCC drought

Image source: Adjusted from IPCC 1

The IPCC define Drought as “A period of abnormally dry weather long enough to cause a serious hydrological (water) imbalance.”1 This would mean that the amount of rain that falls is not sufficient to meet agricultural (farming) or ecological (the plants and animals in a region) needs and during the growing season impinges on crop production or ecosystem function.

  1. How many of the regions showing on the map have experienced an increase in agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                            
  2. How many of the regions shown on the map have experienced a decrease in agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Identify the two regions where there is medium confidence in the human contribution to the observed change.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  4. What is the situation in the region where you live with regards to changes in agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  5. Describe the patterns shown in the regions that have had an increase in observed agricultural and ecological drought.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  6. Suggest what impacts an increase in agricultural and ecological drought might have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  7. Look closely at the areas that have limited data and/or literature. Can you suggest reasons why these areas have limited data and literature in relation to agricultural and ecological drought?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Overview – Which Regions have been Affected the Most?

IPCC extreme weather overview
Source: Adjusted from IPCC 1
  1. Using the graphic above identify three places but are affected negatively by all three situations [hot extremes, heavy precipitation, and agricultural and ecological drought]
    1.                                                                       
    2.                                                                       
    3.                                                                       
  2. Using the graphic identify an area that that is affected by fewest of the situations?                                                                                                                                                            
  3. Which areas on the map should be a priority for further research into the effects of climate change? Explain your answer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  4. Which of the three situations have affected most regions of the world? Use evidence from the maps to support your answer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  5. Write a letter to your local MP, use evidence from the graphic to justify the need for action on climate change. You should focus upon the urgent need for action and how that can be implemented (done) locally.

Geographical information systems activity

Visit the website below, it is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Interactive Atlas. IPCC WGI Interactive Atlas Click on the regional information button, it will bring up an interactive map. Complete the table below using information from the map. You will need to use the menu tools above the map, changing the variable and scenario. Complete this for the Near Term. If you finish, you could repeat for the Long Term on a new sheet and then compare results.
IPCC extreme weather table

Overall what does the table and map show you about global climates in the future?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Note 

  • SSP1-2.6: Global CO2 emissions are cut severely, but not as fast, reaching net-zero after 2050. Temperatures stabilize around 1.8°C higher by the end of the century.
  • SSP5-8.5: Current CO2 emissions levels roughly double by 2050. The global economy grows quickly, but this growth is fuelled by exploiting fossil fuels and energy-intensive lifestyles. By 2100, the average global temperature is a scorching 4.4°C higher.

Sources:

  • IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press. P.11. Accessed 28th November 2021 at Sixth Assessment Report (ipcc.ch)

How often will a heatwave hit the UK?

Royal Geographical Society

This resource links to Figure 11.12 in the IPCC report of 2021. The aim of this resource is to answer the question how often will a heatwave hit the UK?

It was written with the Royal Geographical Society with IBG

Box and whisker plots

Figure 11.12 (see Appendix B) is a box and whisker plot. The graph highlights that extreme temperature events are forecast to increase in the twenty-first century. Extreme temperature events are defined as the daily maximum temperatures that were exceeded once during a 10-year (or 50-year) period.

The dataset for Figure 11.12 is from the paper Changes in Annual Extremes of Daily Temperature and Precipitation in CMIP6 Models by Li et al., 2020. An extract of the data is shown below in Table 1 in Appendix A. The numbers in parenthesis ( ) and square brackets [ ] show respectively the central 66% and 90% uncertainty ranges of the estimated changes in annual maximum temperature, from identified warming level ‘windows’.

The warming of annual maximum temperature events is more uniform over land and increases linearly with global warming. There is high confidence that the magnitude of temperatures extremes will continue to increase more strongly than global mean temperature.

2021 heatwave

Figure 1 the European heatwave of 2021, heat is becoming more extreme and more frequent © University of Maine

The temperature at which an event is classed as a hot extreme is going up (faster than the mean temperature). In the mid-latitudes (between 30° and 60° north and south) the strongest warming is expected in the warm season, with an increase of up to 3°C for 1.5°C of global warming. This has led to events such as the ‘merciless’ temperature spike in Russia, and the ‘heat dome’ over North America in June 2021. The highest increase of temperature in the ‘hottest days’ is projected for some mid-latitude countries and semi-arid regions, such as in North America.

  1. The frequency with which hot events occur is also going up. Study Table 1 in Appendix A. Using Relative frequency change for a 1.5°C, 2°C and a 4°C future, draw a box and whisker plot for global land, with 90% uncertainty ranges. Use the following steps to draw your graph.

a. Draw an x axis and label Global warming above 1850-1900 (°C).

b. Draw the y axis and label Relative frequency change (for one in a 50-year events).

c. Identify the median (the middle) of the data set (which is given to you).

d. Use the 66% uncertainty data (parenthesis brackets) for each box plot.

e. Use the 90% uncertainty data [square bracket] for the whiskers.

In Europe the evidence predicts an increase in the frequency and intensity of hot extremes (warm days, warm nights, heat waves) and, in reverse, a decrease in the frequency and intensity of cold extremes. Heat wave increases will be greater over the south Mediterranean and Scandinavia with southern European cities expected to suffer the biggest increases in maximum heat wave temperatures.

Figure 2 extreme heat is afflicting Europe more regularly © Fabian Keller Unsplashed

2. Why do cities experience extreme heat more frequently?

3. Now repeat the same activity, graphing Relative frequency change, for the ocean dataset.

Whilst heatwaves will increase across Europe and in the UK, there will still be extreme cold in the future. It is a common misconception to think that, as the climate changes, we will only experience warm weather and extreme heat in the twenty-first century. In fact, the climate distribution will change. Extreme cold will still happen, just less frequently. Figure 3 below illustrates this misconception with a probability curve showing climate likelihood and temperature and, underneath, the change from our previous climate to a warmer one. Both the the threshold temperature for an event to be considered extreme, and the frequency of high temperatures, rise in a warming climate. 

temperature pdf
changing temperature pdf

Figure 3 climate graphs © The Royal Meteorological Society Weather and Climate: A Teachers’ Guide

Further work

Exam-style question 

Using all the work you have completed answer the final question below. The instruction is to assess the likelihood that heat wave frequency will increase in the UK. This means you must consider the different arguments, likelihoods, and levels of certainty, after weighing them up, to come to a conclusion. 

4. Assess the likelihood that heat wave frequency will increase in the UK.

Appendix A

extreme temperature data

Appendix B

IPCC AR6 extreme high temperatures

Figure 4 Projected changes in the intensity of extreme temperature events under 1°C, 1.5°C, 2°C, 3°C, and 4°C global warming levels relative to the 1851-1900 baseline © The IPCC report

Answers

  1. As instructed. Figure 4 Appendix B shows a finished box and whisker plot.
  2. Southern Europe is experiencing extreme heat more frequently because high atmospheric pressure draws hot air from northern Africa, Portugal, and Spain up and across the continent with greater regularity. This raises temperatures and increases humidity. Heatwaves are being enhanced by drier soils, humidity, and low wind speeds making the effects particularly dangerous in urban areas. Changes to the North Atlantic jet stream and increasing instability and changing flow pattern of the Gulf Stream are some of the influences on Eurasian weather.As instructed.
  3. As instructed.
  4. As instructed. 

Using WOW to Illustrate the Urban Heat Island Effect

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect makes the centres of towns and cities warmer than the surrounding countryside, especially at night. This is mainly because all the brick, concrete and paving in a city warms up during the day, and then retains its heat for several hours, so helping to keep the city warm as night comes.

The graph below shows temperature over a couple of days in September in the middle of Reading (dark blue) and in a rural village (light blue) about 6km north of Reading.  For this period, the skies were clear and the wind was light, allowing the temperature at Sonning Common to fall quickly after sunset.

However, the Reading city centre temperature fell less rapidly, because of the UHI effect, so that it remained 3 or 4 degrees warmer than Sonning Common during most of the night.

weather station data

On the other hand, the UHI effect is smaller when nights are cloudy and when it is windy. The graph below shows a comparison of temperature the same two places for a couple of very cloudy, rainy, days in October.  Because clouds stop heat escaping from the ground, the temperature doesn’t fall much after sunset, and there is only a degree or so difference between the rural village and the city centre.

weather station data

You can easily make the same sort of comparisons, and shown the UHI effect, using WOW.

The Met Office WOW website http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk is the result of a collaboration between the Met Office and the Royal Meteorological Society, and is a platform for weather observers around the world to upload and share their data.

Aim

  • To use archived weather station data to show the development of an Urban Heat island.
  • To understand when Urban Heat Islands form.

The advantage of using archived data from a site such as WOW is that a date can be selected when weather conditions were appropriate for urban heat island formation, and local data can be found.

Differentiation

Depending on ability, students could be given help choosing locations and/ or dates for the study. More able students could use several sites in and around an urban area.

Background Information for Teachers

Urban Heat Island Introduction

Supporting PowerPoint presentations can be found here and here.

and from MetMatters Urban Heat Islands

Required

Students will require access to the internet.

Choosing locations

Students should select two locations, one in an inner city area and one in a rural area just outside the city.

They might like to make sure that the sites they choose are submitting high quality data (for example, use the ‘filter’ drop down menu to select ‘official observations’ have the best data).

Students could use the satellite view on Google Earth to check the land use of the place where the weather is being recorded.

Advanced students might like to use an OS map to check whether there is a substantial height difference between the sites, and should consider whether this will have an effect on the temperatures recorded.

Choosing a Date and time

The Urban Heat Island is biggest:

  • At night (before sunrise)
  • In the summer
  • When there is little or no wind (<5m/s)
  • When the sky is clear
  • When the weather doesn’t change through the night

How to Use WOW

  • Go to the WOW website wow.metoffice.gov.uk
  • Zoom in to find appropriate pairs of weather stations (perhaps in your area), one urban and one rural within 10km of your urban site. Click on them and make a note of their Site name.
  • Click on the urban weather station.
  • A pop-up box will appear, giving you some information about the site.
  • Click on ‘View Full Observation’ and then on either ‘table’ or ‘graph’.
  • You may like to change the tick boxes under ‘show filters’ such that only Air Temperature is selected, and alter the date range shown to choose a summer period.
weather station data
  • Look for a period of a few days in that month when the temperature difference between night and day is big – this usually means it is clear and with only light winds. In this graph, the 28th August stands out as a time when an UHI might be expected.
  • Select that period in the start and end calendars.
  • Get a graph from the rural station of just those few days
  • Next enter the name of the nearby urban station in the ‘compare to’ box, and update the graph.
  • This should show temperatures at both stations so that you can compare them.
  • Look to see how the difference changes over the course of the days you have selected. Can you see the UHI? What time of day is it biggest? Smallest?

Plenary

Use the second PowerPoint presentation above. 

Ask students to line up across room as a continuum. Students should stand at the left if they think their experiment does provide evidence for an urban heat island, and the right if they think it does not, or somewhere in between.

Extreme Weather in the UK 2

Introduction

The UK Climate Projections (UKCP) are created to help the UK to plan for a changing climate. These projections are based on simulations done by supercomputers. The supercomputers make calculations of how different parts of the Earth’s climate such as the atmosphere, the oceans, the land surface and ice, will develop in the future. Together, these calculations are called a Global Climate Model (GCM).

The purpose of providing information on the possible future climate is to help those needing to plan for a changing climate. Their task might be helping society and the natural environment to adapt. Who do you think should need to make plans?

Figure 2 shows the projections of precipitation, Figure 3 shows the projections of sea level rise and Figure 4 projections of temperature change.   There is a good deal of uncertainty in the projections shown in the figures; this exercise only uses the most likely change.

Obviously, changes in any of these climate variables may have an impact on different types of extreme weather hazards.

It is important to consider how the amount of change depends upon greenhouse gas emissions. This is why the UKCP graphics provide results for a range of future emission scenarios going from a situation where global emissions of greenhouse gases rapidly peak and decline towards the ambitious climate targets in the Paris climate agreement (low emissions), to a case where increased use of fossil fuels leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions.  

The tasks in this exercise get you to use and interpret the state‐of‐the‐art UKCP projections. The tasks should also get you thinking about the scale of the climate change problem in the UK and how we can go about managing it.

Explore the UKCP projections at https://ukclimateprojections.metoffice.gov.uk/

Task 1

Take a look at the variables shown in Figure 2 – 4. Which of the variable(s) do you think is most relevant to the future occurrence of the following extreme weather hazards and why:
(a) Flooding, (b) Drought, (c) Heatwave, (d) Blizzard, (e) Storm surge

Task 2

Figure 5 is designed for you to record the likelihood of different types of extreme weather hazard occurring in each region of the UK in the 2080s. This likelihood, or risk, can be estimated using a numerical scale from 0 to 4 to denote no risk (0), low risk (1), medium risk (2), high risk (3) and very high risk (4). This number can then be recorded next to the appropriate hazard symbol in Figure 5.

But how do you estimate this risk? Well, firstly you need to look at Figure 1
(completed in Part I of this exercise). This will show you whether each region is currently at risk from particular hazards. Secondly, you need to use Figures 2 – 4 to estimate whether this risk is going to change by the time we reach the 2080s – is it going to be less, the same, mildly higher or severely higher than today. Finally use the table below to calculate the appropriate risk level from 0 to 4.

For example, Figure 1 should show that Wales is at risk from heavy rainfall in today’s climate. Figure 2 shows that winter weather is likely to be much wetter in Wales by the 2080s. Therefore, using the table above, the risk of heavy rainfall in Wales in the 2080s is 4.

When you have completed Figure 3, try to answer the following questions:
(a) How would you estimate the most hazardous region of the UK in the 2080s?
(b) Which region is it?
(c) The risk of which type of extreme weather hazard shows widespread decrease by the 2080s?
(d) Suggest how it might be too simplistic to estimate future extreme weather hazards in this way?

Task 3

The possible social and economic conditions associated with the high and low projections are given in the table below. As you can see, they are very different possible futures. Under the high scenario, energy production is fossil‐fuel intensive much like it is today. The low scenario assumes that the world finds solutions to economic, social and environmental sustainability.

(a) Which scenario do you think is most likely for (i) the UK and (ii) the world as a whole and why?
(b) Give reasons for how the conditions listed in the table above may lead to the climate changes shown in Figure 4 for the:
(i) Low scenario
(ii) High scenario
(c) Would a high or low scenario world be better prepared to cope with an
increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather hazards?

Figure 2

These maps shows projected changes in UK precipitation by 2061-2080 with low, medium and high global greenhouse gas emissions. 

UKCP precipitation

Figure 3

Projected changes in sea level around the UK

UKCP18 sea level rise

Figure 4

These maps show the change in UK temperature by 2061-2080 with low, medium and high global emissions of greenhouse gases. 

Figure 5

Extreme weather risks in the UK

2080 extreme weather risks

Extreme Weather in the UK 1

Introduction

Apart from predicting tomorrow’s weather, the Met Office is also a leading researcher into climate change. Their website is an excellent source of information on previous extreme weather events and associated hazards. It contains maps and charts that show which parts of the UK were most affected by these weather events.

Summaries of significant weather events which occurred over the last 60 years can be found at:
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/past-uk-weather-events https://www.metlink.org/resource/case-studies/ and https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/learn-about/weather/case-studies.

 

Task 1

Figure 1 is an outline map of the UK divided into 14 administrative regions (Wales, Northern Ireland, three regions in Scotland and nine regions in England). Annotate the map to show which regions have been significantly affected by past extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, strong winds, droughts, heatwaves, blizzards and storm surges. You may require a map to help you.
For example, look at the information on the heavy rainfall event on 16th August 2020 (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/metofficegovuk/pdf/weather/learn-about/uk-past-events/interesting/2020/2020_12_august_rain_1.pdf). Scroll down to find a map of rainfall. The map illustrates that the most affected region of the UK was the East of England. Figure 1 can now be annotated by writing ‘heavy rainfall, august 2020’ in the box for the East of England (as shown). 

Repeat this process for as many different extreme weather events as you can. If maps are not available, search the text for details about the most affected areas.

Try not to spend too long investigating individual weather events. Use the information to get a general idea of affected parts of the UK, then move on to the next event. In 25 minutes, aim to record 10 different weather events on Figure 1.

Task 2

Have a look at your annotations of Figure 1. Do some regions appear particularly vulnerable to heavy rainfall? Do strong winds tend to hit the same parts of the UK time and time again?
Add symbols to your map to show which regions are prone to particular types of extreme weather hazard (have been affected by that type of hazard at least once).
Some ideas for symbols are given below.

Some regions on your map may contain more than one symbol, other regions may contain none at all. Remember, extreme weather hazards are not necessarily evenly distributed!

Task 3

Answer the following questions:
(a) According to your completed Figure 1, which region of the UK is the most hazardous?
(b) The information shown in Figure 1 only informs us about the physical threats presented by extreme weather. Make a list of the human factors we would also need to take into consideration for assessing hazard risk to people, property and infrastructure across the UK.
(c) Other parts of the world have to deal with more severe weather than the UK.
Nevertheless, the UK experiences a wide variety of extreme weather hazards.
Explain how this variety makes management of hazards so difficult.

 

regional extreme weather events

Note: Words shown in bold type are defined in the glossary

Steart Marshes

Task: Design a poster explaining the benefits of Steart Marshes for protecting the local community against the effects of climate change.

Critics of the project claimed that it was a waste of money that should have been spent on other flood prevention schemes.

Your poster should include information about

  • Why sea levels are rising
  • Why the area is prone to flooding
  • How marshes can protect the surrounding area
  • How the marsh is created
  • Other benefits, for example to wildlife and for tourism

Evidence/ source material: Basic 

Advanced 

Sample PowerPoint poster template: Steart Marshes

Further resources to teach changing UK climate.

BACK TO TOP