Climate change science

Our climate is changing, and climate change scientists have become progressively more certain about the cause and impacts of climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation. It assesses scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the risks of human-induced climate change, potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

The latest international report says that:

"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

Left unchecked these changes will accelerate, with significant consequences for our environment, economy and society.

The pace and impacts of climate change vary across the globe, but eventually everyone will be directly or indirectly affected by these changes.

What are the best sources of scientific information on climate change?

What does the environmental information that SEPA hold tell us about climate change?

As Scotland’s environmental regulator, we collect a wide range of environmental data, such as river flows and the occurrence of insects in rivers. Changes such as higher temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events, which may lead to flooding and droughts, are already happening. We are analysing our data to understand how these and other climate changes may already be affecting our environment.

We also plan to project how these environmental aspects are likely to change, using a standard range of socio-economic scenarios. We aim to publish the outputs of this analysis in early 2015.

Climate change stories

We are producing a series of climate change stories  that show what we predict will be the impacts of climate change on various aspects of Scotland's enviornment in the future.