Climate change is an issue for us all. It not only alters our weather patterns, but it has the potential to affect the local wildlife, agriculture, heritage, economy, jobs and lifestyles. It is as a result of natural processes contributed to by increased emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane which trap heat within the atmosphere that would otherwise be lost into space. Listed below are some of the impacts of climate change which we could expect to see in Mendip. These statistics, cited in Mendip's Climate Change Strategy, come from the UK Climate Impacts Programme (2002).
Sea level rise on the Somerset coast is expected to be between 10 and 50cm by 2050
Sea level rises could exacerbate flash floods caused by wetter, stormier winters
Summer temperatures across the Mendip region are expected to rise by between 2.5 and 5.5°C by 2080
There are expected to be more storm events over the winter, due to up to 50% more deep low pressure areas passing over the South West.
The ancient lake villages of Avalon may once again become a reality, and with vast tracts of Somerset flooding during the winter, the County may live up to its name, ‘the land of the summer people'. Instead of sheep grazing the Mendip hills, picture a scene of olive and almond groves, or even wide spread abandonment of land in the worst-case scenario. Archeological heritage, both built and buried, may gradually be lost in the extremes of storm and drought, and with it our link to the past.
The UK Climate Impacts Programme is the definitive source of information for the projected impacts of climate change.