Climate change will increase temperatures and change rainfall across England, Scotland and Wales. In turn, this will modify patterns of river flow and groundwater recharge, affecting the availability of water and changing the aquatic environment.
There have been many studies of the impact of climate change on river flows in different parts of the UK, but coverage has been uneven and methods have varied. This has meant that it has been very difficult to compare between different locations and hard to identify appropriate adaptation responses.
The Future Flows and Groundwater Levels project has addressed these issues by carrying out a consistent assessment of the impact of climate change on river flows and groundwater levels across England, Wales and Scotland. We used the latest probabilistic climate projections from the Met Office Hadley Centre (UKCP09).
The project has been co-funded by the Environment Agency of England and Wales, Defra, UKWIR, the British Geological Survey, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), and Wallingford HydroSolutions.
Projections of changes in groundwater level, simulated using the project's climate projections, have been made using two types of groundwater models:
The project has used the following information from UKCP09 to assess changes in river flows and groundwater levels across England, Scotland and Wales:
Based on these projections the project has generated the following climate datasets:
These data are available through the Future Flows and Groundwater Levels official website operated by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH).
The climate projections have been used to simulate changes in river flows at 283 river sites across Great Britain using both the 11-member ensemble of regional climate model projections and for 30 selected rivers the ensembles of 10 000 monthly change factors. These outputs are accessible at Future Flows and Groundwater Levels official website operated by the CEH.
Contact Dr Chris Jackson for further information