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Met Office report: London could face hotter summers and more winter flooding by the end of the century

London's summer temperatures could rise five celcius higher than current levels by 2070, while winters could be up to three cecius warmer if fossil fuel pollution stays high, the new UK climate projections from the Met Office show.

A woman sunbathes whilst reading a book in Kings Cross, Credit: PA

By mid century, summers as hot as this year's weeks-long heatwave will be the norm, the researchers said. Rainfall could fall by up to 40% in summer by 2070, while levels of rain could be up by more than a quarter in winter.

Sea levels affecting London, where the Thames Barrier is expected to be in use to protect the city until 2070, could rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100 if climate-warming emissions continue to climb.

Even if emissions are cut in line with the Paris climate agreement to curb temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, sea levels could still be 29cm to 70cm higher in the capital by 2100.

People on the boating lake in Victoria Park in east London Credit: PA

In full: UK climate projections from the Met Office for London

  • Summer precipitation

By the end of the century, it is likely that London and the South East will experience reduced rainfall in summer under both high and low scenarios.

Projected summer rainfall reductions are largest in the south and west of the UK, so these projected changes are larger than those for the more northern regions of the country.

Under a low emissions scenario, summer rainfall is likely to change by around -45% to +5%, with a mid-range value of -25%. Under a high emissions scenario, summer rainfall is likely to change by around –70% to -5%, with a mid-range value of -40%.

  • Winter precipitation

By the end of the century, it is likely that most parts of England, including London and the south east, will experience increases in winter rainfall, particularly under the high emissions scenario. However, small reductions are also possible.

The size of the rainfall increase depends on region with largest changes relative to present day on the south coast.

Under a low emissions scenario, winter rainfall is likely to change by around -10% to +40%, with a mid-range value of +15%. Under a high emissions scenario, winter rainfall is likely to change by around 0% to +50%, with a mid-range value of +25%.

  • Summer temperatures

By the end of the century, it is very likely that most parts of England, including London and the south-east, will experience increases in average summer temperature under both high and low scenarios.

Projected temperature increases are larger for the south of the UK than the north, so projected changes for the south east are slightly higher than for the UK or England average, particularly so for London. But for all regions, the amount of warming is highly dependent on emissions scenario.

For the South East, under a low emissions scenario, summer temperatures are likely to increase by around 0.5°C to 3°C, with a mid-range value of 1.5°C. Under a high emissions scenario, summer temperature is likely to increase by around 2.5°C to 8°C, with a mid-range value of 5.5°C.

Source: UK climate projections from the Met Office

Launching the new report into how climate change will affect the UK, the first of its kind in almost a decade, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said no-one could predict the future with absolute certainty.

In his first major speech on climate change, Mr Gove - who during the EU referendum claimed the public has "had enough of experts" - backed the scientists who had produced the projections.