The UK Climate Resilience Programme ran from 2019 to 2023

High impact scenarios for the UK (webinar)

UK Climate Resilience Programme Webinar Series 2022-2023

Date: 24 February 2023, 12pm-1pm (GMT)

Speakers: Nigel Arnell (University of Reading); respondent Mike Steel (Environment Agency)

Chair: Jason Lowe (Met Office)

View this webinar on YouTube


In order to increase resilience to climate change we need to upgrade our infrastructure and ways of dealing with extreme events, and to do this we need information on how climate might plausibly change in the future. This change depends on future emissions and on how the climate system responds to forcing, and both of these are uncertain. It is also unclear how cautious we should be: do we plan for a 2 degree world, a 4 degree world – or something much more extreme? And do we need to plan for ‘the unexpected’?

This webinar presents work which is being undertaken through a Climate Resilience Programme project to plausible ‘high impact low likelihood’ climate scenarios for the UK. The scenarios are based on narrative storylines describing plausible changes not covered by ‘conventional’ climate scenarios, and are defined through a blend of theory and model simulations. The webinar outlines the concept behind the scenarios, and introduces the storylines.


Nigel Arnell is Professor of Climate System Science in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading. His research focuses on the impacts of climate change at UK and global scales, covering a wide range of indicators of climate risk. He has been involved in all IPCC assessments since the second back in the mid-1990s, and chaired the peer review panel for evidence reports for both the second and third UK Climate Change Risk Assessments. Most recently he has been assessing indicators of climate risk across the UK, some of which are presented on the Climate Risk Indicators website.

Mike Steel is responsible for the Environment Agency’s long-term investment scenarios (LTIS) for flood and coastal risk management. LTIS is an economic assessment showing what future flood and coastal risk management could look like over the next 50 years in England. A new LTIS study is currently in progress. Mike has previously worked on national flood risk assessment, Thames Estuary 2100 plans, and has a PhD in hydrology and climate change.