Modelling climate change and socio-economic impacts within three regions of Scotland, 1970-2100
There is a consensus of scientific thought that humana ctivities are altering the gaseous composition of the atmosphere and leading to global climate change. This thesis addresses the question of how this global climate change will manifest itself at the regional level. In particular, a dynamic simulation model integrating both climate change and climatically sensitives ocio-economic activities will be developed. This model will explore the regional variations in both climate change and socio-economic activity. Three Local Authorities in Scotland were chosen for this study, Argyll on the west coast, Stirling inland and Fife on the east coast. This provides a west-east transect across central Scotland. Meteorological data, covering the period 1970-1998, was collected from twelve sites spread across these regions. These data were analysed in order to provide a climatic profile of each of the regions, and to identify any evidence of climate change in the form of trends in the data. Data relating to socio-economic factors was taken from a variety of sources. Mere possible this covered the same period in time as the climate data. Both sets of data were examined to determine evidence of climate sensitivity in the socioeconomic data using suitable statistical techniques. A simple, yet thermodynamically sound, dynamic climate model was developed and calibrated for each region using the data from the previous analysis. This model allowed increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (C02) to directly affect the mean surface temperature of the three regions. Precipitation changes from the UKCIP02 regional climate model were included This allowed seasonal temperature and precipitation totals to be simulated, on a regional basis, under different climate change scenarios. Simulations, calibrated on datafrom 1970-1998, were run forward to 2100. The climate results were similar to the outputfrom the UKCIP02 model. Six sectors of a socio-economic model were constructed population, employment, land use, water resources, housing and emissions. Where statistically significant relationships, between climatic and the local socio-economic variables were found, these were included in the model. Simulations for the period 1970-2100, were run under four different climate change scenarios, and that of constant climate, in order to assessth eir impact on the six sectors at the regional scale. The results indicate considerable regional variations in the impacts both of climate change and the associated climatically sensitive activities. Argyll in the west, for example, could benefit from increased tourism and the potential for agricultural expansion. If in-migration is allowed to offset labour shortages, then the west sees a reversal of the population decline of previous decades. Climate change has little impact on the economy of the inland and eastern regions. However, a problem does emerge with water resources in the east. Summer droughts are seen to increase in frequency, suggesting that both the costs and benefits of climate change will be unevenly distributed. The implications of these results for the management of change are then discussed along with future research needs.