UK 'faces more water shortages'
A quarter of people in the UK could suffer more water shortages by the end of the century without action to tackle climate change, the Met Office has warned.
A series of projections charting the predicted impacts of global warming on 24 countries around the world also revealed that, in a worst-case scenario, there could be a three-and-a-half times greater risk of river flooding in the UK.
As many as 160,000 more people could be at risk of coastal flooding in the face of sea level rises, while 24% of the population in 2100 - around 18 million people - could face increased pressure on their water supplies.
The latest warning on the impacts of climate change, launched during international talks on tackling global warming in Durban, South Africa, comes in the wake of one of the driest 12 months on record for some parts of Britain.
The south and south east of England are already facing pressure on water resources, and those regions are likely to see an increase in the frequency of droughts and water scarcity, the Met Office Hadley Centre report said.
But almost all of the agricultural land currently farmed in the UK will become more suitable for growing crops, largely as a result of decreasing frosts and cold nights as the country warms.
The study confirmed that the UK was already getting warmer as a result of climate change, experiencing 35 more unseasonably warm days a year in this decade than in the 1960s.
The Met Office projects temperatures could rise by 3C above the 1960-1990 average of 8.3C in the south and 2.5C in the north of the UK without global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The report, commissioned by the UK Government, also looked at what had already been happening to the climate in the two dozen countries and found that all had warmed since the 1960s.
Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "This report highlights some of the very real dangers we face if we don't limit emissions to combat the rise in global temperature. The UK wants a legally binding global agreement to keep the global temperature rise below 2C. If this is achieved this study shows that some of the most significant impacts of climate change could be reduced significantly."