Australian-led research finds England most susceptible to human-induced climate change

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After sweltering through its hottest year on record in 2014, England is likely to feel the effects of more human-induced climate change in the future, an Australian-led research team has discovered.

In a study published on Friday in the journal 'Environmental Research Letters', the international team led by the University of Melbourne's Dr Andrew King discovered that England could be up to 13 times more likely to experience temperatures that contribute to warmer-than-average years.

King, from the university's ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said that a high concentration of human activity in such a small area has contributed to England being more susceptible than other countries to anthropogenic, or human- induced, climate change.

He said his team analyzed data from the Central England Temperature record (CET), dating back to the 17th century, to show that human activity will only continue to impact climate in the area.

"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," King said on Friday.

"As a result of this low variability, it is easier to spot anomalies. 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."

King's team used climate model simulations to calculate the likelihood of very warm years when there was only a natural impact on the climate with no human interference, and then when there were both natural and human impacts.

They then calculated the likely change in the number of years that would be warmer due to human influence.

The researchers also observed the CET and plotted the warmest years onto a graph which the researchers used to calculate the likelihood of warm years happening now and warm years happening 100 years ago.

The researchers deduced that human induced climate change meant England's chance of experiencing a warmer-than-average year increased 13-fold according to the model, while the plotting method indicated a 22-fold increase in the probability of very warm years.

"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 said.

King added that built-up areas in Europe and around the world would begin to experience similar rises in due to human-induced climate change.

"I would expect that other areas near the UK would produce similar results," he said. Endi

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