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insight


Game Changer


A new report from the Climate Coalition documents the impacts that extreme weather and coastal erosion are having on some of the UK’s most popular sports.


THE report marks the launch of The Climate Coalition's annual Show The Love campaign, which aims to raise awareness of climate change and all it threatens, and encourage people to show their support for action to address it. The Game Changer report focuses on three


sports - golf, football and cricket – to provide a snapshot of the problem, backed up by the scientific expertise of the Priestley International Centre for Climate.


what does the science says? Human emissions of greenhouse gases have led to a rise in global average surface temperature of over 1ºC, with impacts on rainfall patterns, climate and ecosystems all over the world. There is growing evidence that the UK is


becoming warmer and wetter. During the last 20-30 years, the UK has experienced a rapid increase in extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, bringing severe flooding in many areas. Six out of the seven wettest years in our history have occurred since 2000. Future projections by the Met Office indicate that winter rainfall could increase by 70-100 per cent by the 2080s. While there will still be drier


years, this suggests that wet winters could become more common in the future, increasing the risk of further damaging floods. Climate change is having different impacts in


different parts of the country. Despite a small overall increase in summer rainfall in England, the south-east has seen a decrease. This is likely to get worse in future, with a projected 40 per cent decrease in summer rainfall in this region by the 2080s, along with an increase in average summer temperatures of up to 4.2°C. Alongside drier weather comes a trend for


more summer thunderstorms, with a significant increase in storms observed between 1960 and 2016. Climate scientists predict that, despite a substantial reduction in future average summer rainfall, by the 2080s extreme rainfall events will become more frequent in a warmer, moister environment. Our coastline is also at risk from rising sea


levels and storm surges. Since 1900, sea levels have risen by an average of 15-20cm around the UK and simulations show that they could rise by a further 50-100cm by 2100. The rate of coastal erosion is likely to increase as a result of rising sea levels, more intense storms and increases in intense rainfall.


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golf Sea-level rise poses the greatest long-term threat to golf in the UK. More than one in six of Scotland’s 600 golf courses are located on the coast, but increased rainfall and storms – exacerbated by climate change – also play their part. “It is a fact that increased rainfall and


extreme events are causing more disruption in recreational golf,” says Richard Windows of the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI). “Course closure means reduced revenue from visitor and clubhouse income at a time


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