Climatic Change

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 43-73

First online:

A Regional, Multi-sectoral And Integrated Assessment Of The Impacts Of Climate And Socio-economic Change In The Uk

Part II. Results
  • I. P. HolmanAffiliated withInstitute of Water & Environment, Cranfield University Email author 
  • , R. J. NichollsAffiliated withSchool of Civil Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton
  • , P. M. BerryAffiliated withEnvironmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • , P. A. HarrisonAffiliated withEnvironmental Change Institute, University of Oxford
  • , E. AudsleyAffiliated withSilsoe Research Institute
  • , S. ShackleyAffiliated withTyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester
  • , M. D. A. RounsevellAffiliated withUniversité catholique de Louvain

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The ‘Regional Climate Change Impact and Response Studies in East Anglia and North West England’ (RegIS) integrated assessment (IA) investigated climate and socio-economic impacts and adaptation options, and cross-sectoral interactions between four major sectors driving landscape change (agriculture, biodiversity, coastal zones and water resources). The baseline and two contrasting climate change scenarios (with and without regional socio-economic change scenarios) were investigated. RegIS showed that climate change, without policy adaptation, could lead to severe flood impacts in East Anglia, and significant agricultural abandonment. Despite yield changes, cropping is generally insensitive to climate, but very sensitive to socio-economic change. There is increased seasonality to river flows, compounded by increased urbanisation and irrigation demand. The responses of biodiversity to climate change are regional, habitat and species-specific, but much of the future of biodiversity in these regions will depend on planned adaptation in the other sectors. Numerous examples of public engagement with the global change sphere represent the real outward value of RegIS, due to the significant uncertainties and limitations to knowledge in this first regional IA which prevented results of the detail, specificity and confidence that decision-makers required. However, with further investment and refinement, regional IA’s will increasingly provide such output.