Climate Change and the Peak District


Aftermath of a fire in the Peak District

Inevitably, climate change will have an impact on the Peak District's natural, social and business environment. We followed the invitation by the Secretary of State to produce an adaptation report which covers the climate change induced risks towards the National Park itself as well as the National Park Authority. We incorporated modelling techniques and data provided by the UK Climate Projections (UKCP09) in order to precisely estimate these potential risks. Understanding and communicating impacts and their origin is essential in order to minimise the effects of climate change on our local society, economy and natural environment.

The changes we are going to face over the coming decades tend to warmer, wetter winters, hotter, drier summers and more extreme weather events such as intense rainfall and strong winds. We will still have wet summers and cold winters in the Peak District but they will become less frequent. The two tables you can see below show the expected average changes in temperature and rainfall in summer and winter within the next century. For further information about the methodology we applied please review our adaptation report.

Hotter, Drier Summers

Period Increase in average summer temperature Change in average summer rainfall
2020s +1.4o C -7%
2050s +2.4oC -18%
2080s +3.4oC -22%

Baseline 1961-1990

Potential impacts resulting from hotter, drier summers include:

  • Less water in Streams and Rivers especially in the White Peak
  • Increased frequency of wild fires, especially on moorland
  • Changes in habitats and biodiversity
  • Increasing numbers of visitors who escape from overheating cities

Warmer, Wetter Winters

Period Increase in average winter temperature Change in average winter rainfall
2020s +1.3o C +4%
2050s +2.2oC +10%
2080s +3.0oC +13%

Baseline 1961-1990

Potential impacts resulting from warmer, wetter winters:

  • Increasing events of flash floods, damaging buildings, roads and land
  • Changes in habitats and biodiversity
  • Damp related problems in old and historic buildings
  • Increasing spread of diseases affecting plants and wildlife

Adaptation and Mitigation

There are two main strategies for successful management of climate change impacts. First is the adaptation which entails changing behavior and practices to respond to the impacts of climate change. Successful adaptation should not only protect against negative impacts, but also seek to take advantage of any benefits resulting from a changing climate. It is important to ensure that adaptation responses complement actions to mitigate the causes of climate change. Mitigation is the second management approach we are pursuing. The one and only aim of mitigation is to reduce the exhaust of greenhouse gas emissions.

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