LONDON (Reuters) - England is likely to experience longer, drier summers later this decade that could worsen the risk of droughts, according to British national forecaster the Met Office, which said the change was due to increasing climate change.
Large parts of England have declared a drought in recent weeks and a record-breaking European heatwave has pushed the country's infrastructure to its limits, forcing the impact of climate change up the political agenda.
The Met Office, Britain's meteorological service, reached its conclusion that the changes were human-driven by comparing different emissions scenarios, which showed the effects were stronger when emissions were high.
It said summer-like conditions were expected to last longer and a 4-12% reduction in rainfall in English regions was likely in the future in autumn (fall).
"Our research found that the largely 'summer-like' weather patterns - bringing drier conditions – will begin to extend into the start of autumn," Met Office scientist Daniel Cotterill said in a statement.
"Although we don't expect to see this shift in pattern imminently, a key finding from this study is that from the mid-2020s warmer and drier autumns following hotter and drier summers could increase drought risk.”
The findings were presented in a paper titled "Future extension of the UK summer and its impact on autumn precipitation". It adds to a body of research showing seasonal changes caused by climate change.
Earlier this year a study said climate change was spurring earlier springs in North America and causing many birds to lay their eggs earlier in the year. Older studies have shown the same thing happening in Britain.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Mark Heinrich)