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England to See Record-Breaking Warm Years

May 01, 2015 04:49 PM EDT

With heatwaves in Europe expected to be 10 times as likely due to climate change, it should come as no surprise that England in particular will soon see record-breaking warm years.

That's at least according to a recent study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, which details how the chance that England will experience a record-breaking warm year, such as the one seen in 2014, is set to substantially increase as a result of man-made climate change. In fact, in the near future record-breaking warm years will be at least 13 times more likely.

This is according to climate model simulations and detailed analyses of the Central England Temperature (CET) record - the world's longest instrumental temperature record dating back to 1659.

The study results show that human activities have a large influence on extreme warm years in England, which is surprising considering it is such a small country.

"When you look at average annual temperatures over larger regions of the world, such as the whole of Europe, there is a lower variability in temperatures from year to year compared with smaller areas," lead author Dr. Andrew King said in a press release.

"As a result of this low variability, it is easier to spot anomalies," he added. "This is why larger regions tend to produce stronger attribution statements, so it is remarkable that we get such a clear anthropogenic influence on temperatures in a relatively small area across central England."

To reach this conclusion, the team used climate model simulations to calculate the likelihood of very warm years based on natural climate influences alone, and not human-made influences. Then they determined the number of warm years considering both factors together.

In addition, the researchers observed the CET and picked out the warmest years from the record since 1900 and plotted them on a graph. This way, they could calculate the likelihood of warm years happening now and warms years happening 100 years ago.

Unfortunately for England, their findings suggest at least a 13-fold increase in warm years due to anthropogenic climate change. On the other hand, the observation-based approach suggests at least a 22-fold increase in the probability of very warm years in today's climate compared to a century ago.

"Both of our approaches showed that there is a significant and substantial increase in the likelihood of very warm years occurring in central England," King added.

According to the CET, 2014 was the warmest year on record in central England, with the last 60 years seeing rapid warming in particular. In 2014, for example, the region saw the highest average annual temperature at 10.93 degrees Celsius (51.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

What's more, the results indicate that not only will England see a substantial increase in record-breaking warm years, but so only might other areas near the United Kingdom.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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