Climate Change Risk

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    Which UK areas are most likely to be impacted by climate change?

    Climate change affects us all in different ways, from considering the sustainability of suppliers when comparing the best business electricity rates to deciding the most environmentally-friendly form of transport. Despite this, the UK saw its hottest year on record during 2022 which is a direct impact of global warming.

    Using data from a range of weather stations across the UK, we have gathered figures from as far back as 1980 to find out which areas of the UK have seen the biggest change in temperature and rainfall over the years.

     

    Climate change risk

    The UK saw its biggest change in temperature between 2010-2011, increasing by 17.03%

    We have put together a list of the years which have seen the biggest change in temperature between 1998-2021 to see when the UK has experienced the biggest spikes in temperature. Here’s what we found.

    Biggest year on year temperature increases in the UK

    1. 2011 – 17.03%
    The year 2011 saw a 17.03% increase in temperature when compared to the previous year, which sees it at the top of our ranking. With an average temperature of 9.55°C, this year may not have the warmest average of all the entries in our list, but the difference in temperature between 2010-2011 was bigger than any other since 1998.

    2. 2014 – 12.08%
    The UK average temperature between 2013-2014 increased by 12.08% which is the second biggest change of any year since 1998. In 2014, the UK saw constantly warm temperatures over the year which has likely contributed to its high position on our ranking.

    3. 2002 – 6.36%
    Even though there were hot summer temperatures in 2002, this year finished with an average temperature of 9.53°C – the lowest of any year on our list. Despite this, the change in climate between 2013-2014 showed a 3.98% increase which is the third highest of any year on this ranking.

    The United Arab Emirates has the highest average temperature of any country, totalling 28.17°C

    As well as revealing how the climate in the UK has changed over the years, we were also keen to find out how the UK compares against the rest of the world. Below is a list of the countries with the highest average temperatures.

    Countries with the highest average temperatures

    1. United Arab Emirates – 28.17°C
    Taking the top spot on our list of the countries with the highest average temperatures, totalling 28.17°C, is the United Arab Emirates. At its hottest, this country has reached temperatures exceeding 52°C which may be hard to comprehend if you live in a country with a cooler climate.

    2. Qatar – 28.02°C
    Even though winters in Qatar are cold, the summers are long and hot which is why the average temperature here is 28.02°C. Climate in the Middle East is characterised as warm and dry which makes areas like Qatar more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

    3. Singapore – 27.69°C
    Completing our top three list of the warmest countries in the world is Singapore with an average temperature of 27.69°C. Despite finishing third on our list, the average yearly temperature in Singapore is hotter than peak summertime in other countries.

    With a 26.36% increase in temperature since 1980, Waddington has seen a bigger change than any other UK area

    The effects of climate change can affect the planet in many ways, one of these being an increase in temperature as a result of global warming, but which areas of the UK have been most affected? Here’s what we found.

    UK areas with the biggest change in temperature between 1980-2022

    UK areas with the biggest change in temperature between 1980-2022

    1. Waddington, Lancashire – 26.36%
    With a 26.36% increase, Waddington is named as the UK area with the biggest change in temperature. This Lincolnshire village has gone from an average temperature of 9°C in 1980 to 11.4°C in 2022. While these figures may not sound huge, any long-term increase in temperature is indicative of global warming.

    2. Heathrow, London Borough of Hillingdon – 23.73%
    Known for being the location of the UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow appears next on our list. Despite having put plans in place to become net zero in the future, it is likely that the activity from Heathrow Airport has contributed to this area’s 23.73% increase in temperature between 1980-2022.

    3. Eastbourne, East Sussex – 23.58%
    Located on the southeast coast of England, Eastbourne has the highest average temperature of all the UK areas in our top three, totalling an average of 13.1°C in 2022. From this, it is clear that this English town is no stranger to the sunshine, and this is evidenced by its third-place entry on our list.

    Tiree has seen a bigger increase in rainfall than any other UK area with a 17.67% increase since 1980

    When most people think about climate change, they tend to associate it with hotter weather. Whilst this is true, warmer air can hold more water, and this can result in more rainfall. Below is a list of the UK areas that have experienced the biggest increase in rainfall between 1980-2022.

    UK areas with the biggest change in rainfall between 1980-2022

    UK areas with the biggest change in rainfall between 1980-2022

    1. Tiree, Inner Hebrides – 17.67%
    Tiree is known as one of the sunniest places in Scotland, but it appears that it has also had its fair share of showers over the years. With a 17.67% increase in rainfall between 1980-2022, Tiree takes the top spot on our list of the UK areas with the biggest change in rainfall.

    2. Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway – 16.57%
    With an average rainfall of 162.5mm in 2022, this area has seen the most rainfall in our top three. In addition to this, Eskdalemuir has also had the second-highest increase in rainfall between 1980-2022 – increasing by 16.57% between this time.

    3. Lerwick, Shetland – 11.65%
    With an increase of 11.65% between 1980-2022, Lerwick completes our top three list of the UK areas with the biggest change in rainfall. As the third Scottish area to feature in this top three, it appears that this part of the country has really felt the effects of climate change over the years.

    Paisley has seen the biggest year-on-year change in temperature in the UK - totalling 11.04% between 2012-2022

    As well as looking at the long-term effects of climate change around the UK, we also wanted to find out which areas have been affected the most in recent years. Looking at the year-on-year changes in temperature, we have put together a list of the areas which have seen the biggest overall change in temperature over the last ten years.

    UK areas with the biggest year-on-year change in temperature between 2012-2022

    UK areas with the biggest year-on-year change in temperature between 2012-2022

    1. Paisley, Renfrewshire – 11.04%
    When considering the overall total change in temperature between 2012-2022, it is Paisley which comes out on top with an increase of 11.04%. In 2014, Paisley saw a 10.09% increase in temperature when compared to the previous year and this has contributed to its first-place entry in our list.

    2. Braemar, Aberdeenshire – 10.11%
    This Scottish village has experienced some real highs and lows in terms of average temperatures over the years, recording some of the coldest minimum monthly temperatures back in the 1980s. However, Braemar’s position on our ranking is the result of its 10.11% total increase in average temperature over the last ten years.

    3. Eastbourne, East Sussex – 9.46%
    Making its second appearance in one of our lists is Eastbourne. As previously revealed, Eastbourne has seen one of the biggest long-term increases in temperature, but it appears that this town has been feeling its effects in recent years too. With a total increase of 9.46% between 2012-2022, Eastbourne has had the third biggest change in temperature of any area in the UK.

    With a total increase of 112.88%, Manston has seen a bigger year-on-year increase in rainfall than any other UK area

    There are big differences between suppliers when we compare business energy, similarly, there is variation in the amount of rainfall across the country. Below is a list of the UK areas that have seen the biggest overall increase in rainfall over the last ten years.

    UK areas with the biggest year-on-year change in rainfall between 2012-2022

    UK areas with the biggest year-on-year change in rainfall between 2012-2022

    1. Manston, Kent – 112.88%
    Despite the overall total increase in rainfall of 112.88% between 2012-2022, the year-on-year rainfall count in Manston has fluctuated over the years. In 2022, this village in Kent saw a 20.17% deduction in the amount of rain when compared to the previous year, indicating that this area has seen glimpses of less intense rainfall recently.

    2. Cambridge NIAB, Cambridgeshire – 94.50%
    With an overall increase in rainfall of 94.50% between 2012-2022, Cambridge NIAB appears second on our list. Despite its position on our ranking, this county town has seen a decrease in rainfall over the last two years which is likely due to the implementation of its Climate Change Strategy in which the goal is to become net zero by 2030.

    3. Sutton Bonington, East Midlands – 89.76%
    Located in the East Midlands, Sutton Bonington is a quaint village, home to the University of Nottingham which has thousands of enrolled students – this has likely contributed to its change in climate over the years. Between 2012-2022, this area has seen a total year-on-year increase of 89.76% which is the third highest of any area in the UK.

    Countries with the biggest carbon footprint

    Methodology

    We used Met Office data to collect the following figures for 37 weather stations in the UK for every month between 2012-2022 and every month in 1980; mean daily maximum temperature, mean daily minimum temperature and total rainfall. We removed any locations for which we couldn’t access all of the data, leaving us with a total of 31 locations.

    For each weather station, we added together each year’s total mean daily maximum temperature and divided this total by twelve to find each year’s average maximum temperature. We repeated this step with the mean daily minimum temperature to find each year’s average minimum temperature.

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