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  1. ITV Report

'Extreme weather will become more likely' in UK as climate changes

Beddington: Climate change could affect the jet stream, which keeps Britain warm Photo: ITV News

Climate change means that dramatic cold snaps, like the one Britain is experiencing, are likely to become more common in the future, according to the government's outgoing top scientist.

Professor Sir John Beddington said today that the term 'global warming' gives the impression that everywhere will get warmer, but that it is more likely to lead to greater variability in British weather.

His warning came as the UK experiences what may prove to be the coldest March in 40 years, according to the Met Office.

ITV News Science Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:

Whilst the effects of climate change are already being felt in the UK, Professor Beddington warned that this is only the start of more extreme weather variations to come.

"I think you only have to look at the last few years to see how that is actually starting to manifest itself even in the UK," he said.

Even if effective action was taken now to address carbon emissions, he said there would be "significant" climate change over the next 20 to 25 years as a result of past global emissions.

The future of spring? Climate change could make British weather even less predictable Credit: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Although the changes to the weather are likely to be felt in the UK, the wider world will experience "massive" problems, Professor Beddington warned.

In 12 years' time there will be another billion people on the planet and we have big issues of food security, water security and energy security and many, many people will start to be living in cities.

These are massive problems; climate change is just going to make it worse.

– professor sir john beddington, chief scientific adviser to the government

Addressing the reliability of climate models, Professor Beddington admitted there were some "uncertainties" but he said these are "completely outweighed by the enormous body of evidence" that show climate change is happening.