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What is climate change?

A change in the state of the climate is known as climate change.

The Earth is already experiencing the effects of climate change: in the last 100 years a 0.74°c rise in global temperature has occurred, of which, a 0.4°c rise occurred in the last 30 years. This trend of increasing global temperature is accelerating.

Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth's global climate or in regional climates over time. Put simply, our planet is surrounded by a blanket of gasses that keep the surface of the earth warm and able to sustain life.

Burning fossil fuels for energy as we cut down forests and replace them with agricultural land means this blanket is getting thicker, trapping in heat.

The gases which make this happen "greenhouse gasses" are mainly water vapour and carbon dioxide.

As humans emit more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the greenhouse effect becomes stronger.

This causes the Earth's climate to change unnaturally and will carry on doing so with damaging effects if there are no preventative measures put in place now.

How climate change will affect you

Scientific research indicates that because of climate change we may experience more intense and more frequent weather events.

A gradual increase in temperature also has major implications for ecological systems, rises in sea levels, growing seasons, crop and food supply and animals and their habitats.

Whilst the exact dates that these changes will take place is still unknown and those with more serious consequences may take hundreds of years to emerge, scientists predict that we will start to see some changes in conditions in the near future.

South Tyneside Climate Change Projections

To try and determine the affect that climate change will have on the North East, scientists have carried out studies in an attempt to foresee future changes.

By 2050 it is expected that the North East will experience:

  • Average winter temperature increase of approximately 2°c
  • Average summer temperature increase of approximately 2.5°c
  • Average winter rainfall increase of approximately 11%
  • Average summer rainfall decrease of approximately 14%

Risks from Climate Change

The activities of everyday life may be affected by climate change. These disruptions could be caused by:

  • Flooding
  • Storms
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Extreme rainfall
  • Reduced water availability
  • Power disruption

Households will be particularly affected by climate change, which will include uncomfortable summer heat waves and more frequent and severe floods and periods of drought.
If your home suffers damage as a result of climate related incidences, this can be a costly experience not only in financial terms but also because of inconvenience and heartache.

Long-term preparation can help protect your home and possessions against flooding

Whilst it is impossible to predict how climate change will affect your home, there are lots of things you can do to be prepared to react and to minimise damage to your property and possessions - here are just a few:

  • Check that there are no cracks around the sealants on windows and door frames
  • Make sure your gutters are cleaned out regularly
  • If you are adding an extension make sure that you or your builder consult building and planning regulations for advice on flood prevention measures
  • If your property is prone to flooding, any new electrical sockets should be installed as high as possible above the anticipated water levels

To minimise damage to your property if there is a flood on the way:

  • Move whatever furniture and as many possessions as you can upstairs along with food and water supplies
  • Disconnect any electrical appliances
  • Listen to the local radio stations for advice and weather updates
  • Turn off mains gas and electricity.

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