The Local Effects of Climate Change
A new report from WinACC’s Science and Technology Advisory Panel looks at what climate change might mean for Hampshire. To find out more, see the synopsis, or the full report.
In 2007 the Environment Agency classified SE England (which includes Hampshire) as an area of ‘serious water stress’. SE England has less water available per person than the Sudan and Syria.
Temperatures in SE England in the 2020s may go up by 2ºC compared with 1961-1990, which could mean more frequent and/or more intense heat waves. Total rain is likely to be the same, but more rain will fall in winter (up 6%) and less in summer (down 8%). This would produce increased pressure on water supplies and agriculture, and more deaths in vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
More intense summer downpours could lead to flash flooding. Winter rain and snow falls are expected to become more frequent and heavier, also potentially causing more flooding. In Hampshire this risk is likely to increase in river valley flood plains and in coastal areas, as a result of the combination of heavier and more frequent storms and sea level rise (12 - 76 cm rise, resulting from melting glaciers and ice-caps).
By 2080, the climate of Hampshire may resemble that of Portugal today, with increased temperatures and a decline in rainfall with frequent severe summer droughts. Water meadows, chalk downland and chalk streams will suffer most and species such as the otter, dormouse and honey bee will face extinction.
The greatest single impact of climate change may be on human movements. Crop failures because of water shortages in Mediterranean countries may lead to EU citizens wanting to move to Britain, as they are entitled to do under current rules. What happens to refugees from other parts of the world will depend on government policies.