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Looking back and projecting forwards: Greater Manchester’s weather and climate

Report

Jeremy Carter and Nigel Lawson

2011

The significant shifts in climate variables projected for the 21st Century, coupled with the observed impacts of ongoing extreme weather and climate events, makes adaptation to climate change a pressing policy issue. At the heart of this EcoCities report lies a concern with the nature of weather and climate data used by decision makers when developing adaptation responses. Future projections dominate the debate even though predicting future greenhouse gas emission levels and understanding the reaction of the biosphere to climate forcing is uncertain. It is natural to ask whether climate change adaptation policy and strategy making should be based also upon what we already know about the climate and its impacts on the environment, economy and society.

Central to this report is the question of whether records of incidences and impacts of recent weather and climate events can help us to make adaptation decisions? Or, is it now time to look past this historic information and place greater weight on the climate change projections that are now available for the coming decades? Using Greater Manchester as a case study, this report suggests that both issues need to be considered.