Average summer temperatures in the UK could soar by up to 5.4 degrees Celsius (9.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2070 unless greenhouse gas emissions are adequately cut, the country’s weather body has warned.
Sea levels in London could also rise by up to 1.15 meters by the end of the century, with increased risk of flooding throughout the country, according to the country’s most comprehensive projections of climate change, released by the Met Office Monday.
The figures represent the worst-case scenario in terms of climate change, in which global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise over the course of the century.
But even if the targets set out by the Paris Climate Agreement are met, keeping global temperature rises below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the impacts of climate change on the country are expected to be severe.
The UK’s average annual temperature would be still projected to rise by up to 2.3 degrees Celsius by 2100 under that more positive scenario. Sea levels could also rise by up to 70 cm in London, with cities including Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast facing rises in the levels of their bodies of water of over half a meter.
“This cutting-edge science opens our eyes to the extent of the challenge we face, and shows us a future we want to avoid,” the UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, said.
England experienced its hottest summer on record this year, and the UK its joint-hottest – but the report warned that equally warm summers would be commonplace by 2050