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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Fresh warning on climate change
Snowy scene
This might become a thing of the past in Scotland
Snow could become a thing of the past in Scotland as climate change drives up temperatures and causes the sea level to rise, according to weather experts.

Scientists have suggested that the sea level around Scotland could rise by up to 60cm over the next 80 years while temperatures could increase by between 2.5 and 3.5C.

A new forecast from the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) also warned that average snowfalls in Scotland could drop by up to 90%, with snowless winters becoming the norm in some regions.

The UKCIP report predicted that storm rainfall could rise by as much as 25%, particularly in the east of Scotland, which could increase the risk of flooding.

Paisley floods
Flooding could increase as sea levels rise

Deputy Environment Minister Allan Wilson responded to the report by warning that Scotland faced "climate chaos" unless everyone took action to protect the environment.

He said Scotland had to cut greenhouse gas emissions and claimed the Scottish Executive had started to do so through its Scottish climate change programme.

He said: "But government cannot do it alone, we need to start changing public behaviour.

"Our 'do a little: change a lot' campaign shows how small changes to individual lifestyles can, collectively, make a big difference for the environment."

The campaign encourages individuals to adopt a greener lifestyle, for example by reducing energy consumption and minimising waste.

Team of researchers

He added: "Failure to adapt, and failure to move toward a low carbon economy in the future, will leave Scotland vulnerable to climate chaos. We all must do our bit to prevent that."

UKCIP was established in 1997 by the Westminster Government to assess the impact of climate change on the UK and how best to respond to it.

The report published on Friday was produced by a team of researchers at UKCIP and updated an earlier set of scenarios published in 1998.

Allan Wilson
Allan Wilson said everyone must tackle climate change
The research team was led by Dr Geoff Jenkins at the Hadley Centre for Climate Change Prediction in the Met Office and Dr Mike Hulme at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at East Anglia University.

The scenarios forecast the most likely future climate for the UK, but the researchers stressed they could not be "completely confident" about their predictions.

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, Professor James Curran of the Scottish Environment Agency (Sepa), said rising sea levels would become more of a problem in the future.

He said: "The more serious aspects are the potential flooding from increased rainfall in the winter and rising sea levels causing flooding round the coast.

"These computer models are tremendously sophisticated these days and they are giving us some time to prepare. Eighty years may seem a long way away.

"Some people say they see the climate changing already. But certainly within the next 10-20 years we are really going to start noticing it."

BBC Scotland's Louise Batchelor reports
"It is going to get a lot warmer and stormier over the next 80 years"
Professor James Curran, Sepa
"Certainly within the next 10-20 years we are really going to start noticing it"
See also:

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18 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
UK intervenes in climate row
14 Apr 02 | Scotland
Warming effect 'not as drastic'
12 Feb 01 | Scotland
Scotland to get warmer and wetter
03 Dec 99 | Scotland
Grim forecast for Scotland
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