Kent's changing climate

We gather information about Kent's past, current and predicted future climate and use the information to inform how we adapt to climate change in the future.

The Local Climate Impacts Profile (LCLIP) report was produced in 2009. It summarises impacts on the south east from severe weather over 14 years.

While the recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provide more recent data, the projections made in the UK Climate Projections report still provide the best resolution for regional climate change data.

Climate change in Kent

Over the last 45 years, climate change in Kent has largely been  in line with UK-wide climatic trends.

  • Between 1961 and 2006, average temperatures rose annually in the UK, between 1.0°C and 1.7°C, in all 4 seasons. In the south east, our temperatures have generally increased more than has been seen further north.
  • Since the mid-20th century average sea levels have risen around the south east coastline by about 1mm per year, a rate which has increased in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Over the past 45 years, the south east has experienced an increase in the amount of winter rain that falls in heavy downpours, while summer rainfall has decreased.
  • In summer, rainfall has decreased.

Impacts of climate change

Apart from severe weather events, gradual changes have been recorded in Kent which suggest that climate change is already having an impact on the county. They include:

  • sea level rise at Sheerness
  • emergence dates for butterfly species (up to 20 days earlier in the case of the Adonis Blue, symbol of the Kent Wildlife Trust)
  • earlier arrival and breeding success of bird species like the Hobby, which require a warmer climate.

Kent's future climate

Kent's geographical location, long coastline and population density means that it is likely to suffer from some of the severest impacts of climate change in the United Kingdom.

Findings from the UK Climate Projections report are split into three categories, depending on the emissions scenarios (high, medium or low) that we follow into the future. Using the projections in the UK Climate Projections report for a medium emissions scenario, findings suggest that by 2050:

  • winters are likely to be warmer by around 2.2°C
  • summers are likely to be hotter by around 2.8°C
  • the hottest summer days could increase by up to 3.7°C
  • winter rainfall is likely to increase by 16%
  • summer rainfall is likely to decrease by 19%

Find out more about how Kent's climate may change in the future on the UK Climate Projections website.

Find out more about how the climate might change globally on the IPCC website.