iCASP: A regional response
to UKCP18

On Friday 8 March, Yorkshire's Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) hosted a UKCP18 user forum in association with Yorkshire Water.

Representatives from local groups, including University of Leeds and city councils, came together to discuss applications of UKCP18, the Government’s latest climate projections data, and the potential challenges and opportunities climate change may present to both public and private sector organisations across the region. Sarah Jones, Duncan Faulkner, Rob Lamb and Alison Briggs from JBA ventured along to learn more.

The afternoon began with an introduction to UKCP18 from Jason Lowe and Fai Fung, members of the Met Office Hadley Centre which is responsible for developing the UK's latest climate data. It quickly became clear that the data is more accessible than its predecessor, UKCP09, not only through the user-friendly interface but also in its usability under the Open Government Licence. Improvements such as these are the result of recommendations from two different user groups that have been involved for over 3 years, helping inform the climate scenarios, as Jason explained.

One of the most compelling images provided by the Met Office highlighted the potential impacts climate change may have on Yorkshire, showcasing the higher resolution data UKCP18 can provide (pictured right). Projections suggest winter precipitation may increase significantly. Summer rainfall will decrease, although the bouts of rainfall will be more intense and therefore may contribute to a greater risk of flash flood events. For Yorkshire in particular, by 2080, winter rainfall could increase by 16% compared to our current long-term average under the most extreme climate scenario. However, summer rainfall may decrease between 50-60% across the region.

The latter half of the forum involved representatives from local demonstration projects offering insights into research applications of UKCP18. Alexis Percival of Yorkshire Ambulance Service described how climate change may impact the National Health Service (NHS), with implications ranging from health to infrastructure. As 7% of England's NHS hospitals and 9% of GP surgeries sit on a floodplain, the regional precipitation projections may have severe consequences.

JBA Trust's Director, Rob Lamb (pictured left), followed this session and explained how UKCP18 may be applied in flood risk assessments. Rob’s session explained that there is potential for the climate data to benefit assessments at all scales from national policies and investment planning through to the local decisions about flood management and, of course, to help businesses plan for the future, including portfolio management in the insurance industry. Rob highlighted the benefits expected from the new regional and high-resolution UKCP18 outputs that will enable better analysis of future surface water flooding. A recent iCASP project included case studies to preview how the new projections may be able to help - you can find these here.

Finally, Miranda Foster, Senior Hydrologist at Yorkshire Water, offered a view on using UKCP18 for water resource planning. This moved away from Rob’s discussion on flooding to consider the potential impact climate change may have on droughts in the UK, and how Yorkshire Water in particular is considering applying UKCP18 data to their Drought Plan to effectively manage water resources across the region. Miranda concluded by showing research conducted by the company on how they had adjusted their water resource models using climate change-adjusted inflows, based on UKCP09 data, and explained this method will be replicated using the UKCP18 projections.

This iCASP event demonstrated the varied applications of UKCP18, on national and regional scales, and how this new climate data may benefit Government and non-Government organisations. JBA's Paul Maisey provides insight into the relevance of UCKCP18 to the (re)insurance sector in his latest blog.

For more information on JBA’s climate change work, visit the links below:
- UK Climate Change Flood Model
- Incorporating Climate Science into the Insurance Industry
- Climate Resilience
- UKCP18
PRA General Insurance Stress Test (GIST)
- Climate change regulations: where should I start?

Alternatively, get in touch to learn more about our work.