UK extreme events - Drought
Determining the likelihood and severity of extreme events for the past, present and future.
Is the UK getting drier and more susceptible to drought?
The latest UK State of the Climate report showed there has been a general decline in the longest sequence of consecutive dry days in recent decades. However, long dry spells are not the official definition of drought, and so whilst dry spells in the UK are getting shorter, this is not an indication of changing levels of drought in the UK.
Are these changes due to human-induced climate change?
It is very challenging to say whether drought events are becoming more common or more prolonged due to climate change because of the many meteorological, hydrological, and societal drivers that combine to cause them.
To the best of our knowledge there have been no studies to date that have investigated how human-induced climate change has altered the risk of a drought event in the UK.
Will extended dry conditions become more common in the UK?
UKCP18 projected a trend towards drier summers on average, with generally stronger drying in southern parts of the UK. It also suggested that the drying trend is stronger under a high greenhouse gas emission scenario compared to a low one.