The IPCC always talks about global averages, because regional predictive climate models are not possible at the moment. To create climate predictions about what is going to happen in the UK over the next 40 years we are limited (at the moment) to eye-balling the data and making our best guess.
My previous best guess was that there was a 20% chance that temperatures would decrease on average over the next few decades. Now I believe that scenario to be more likely to occur than random i.e. higher than a 50-50 chance for cooler rather than warmer temperatures her in the UK over the next few decades.
Here's why I've changed my mind...
First read this Blog post by Euan Mearns and Clive Best on Judith Curry's "Climate Etc" Blog
"Interpretation of UK temperatures since 1956"
"In this post we present evidence that suggests 88% of temperature variance and one-third of net warming observed in the UK since 1956 can be explained by cyclical change in UK cloud cover."
I think the one-third of net warming figure may be a gross underestimate.
To see why go to the Met Office web page...
"Rainfall, sunshine and temperature time-series"
Climate variable: Sunshine
and Month/Season/Annual: Annual
It can plainly be seen from this graph that the average number of sunshine hours in the UK has gone up around 7% since the mid-1970's
Now look at the Climate variable "Mean temperature" and see how well this correlates with sunshine hours. [Unfortunately the temperature data runs from 1910 and the Sunshine data from 1929 just to confuse things a little.]
Now compare the minimum daily temp record (which normally occurs at night) with the maximum daily temp (which normally occurs during the day). The fact these two time series correlate well shows clearly that night time temperatures are correlated with daytime temperatures.
Changes in day night temperatures appear not to be strongly dependent on the longer timescale changes happening in cloud cover.
Around 1970 the annual average minimum temperature was around 4.8 DegC, with the annual average minimum temperature being around 11.8 DegC. In 2005 those two figures changed to 5.6 DegC and 12.8 DegC respectively. This is very rough and ready calculation but clearly shows the increasing solar input during the day has a much larger effect on night time temperatures than the 7% reductions in cloud cover that took place between the mid-1970's and today.
It is pretty clear that cloud coverage over the UK varies in a cyclical fashion. We have reached a peak and I would say there is a much higher chance of a decline now in sunshine hours than an increase to an even higher peak. Given that a cloud cover change of 7% has at the very very most a 0.2 DegC effect on average temperatures between day and night, CO2 increases are unlikely to protect the UK from declining average temperatures and higher fuel bills that will result from the lower sunshine hours we are likely to get over the next few decades.
As to the effect changes in cloud cover have had on the average temperature in other European countries I have no idea. For free thinking climate scientists this should be an important and active area of research right now.
Therefore my prediction is that catastrophic global warming, predicted by some climate scientists, won't be effecting the UK anytime soon.
For those who still want to believe that climate change apocalypse is just around the corner for the UK, I suggest sensible and intelligent spending on flood prevention
e.g. "Flood defenders go back to nature to keep vulnerable homes dry"
and the replacement of that old rusted snow shovel you may still have kept in a dark corner of the garage.
I am not a climate change denier. I can't really even call myself a climate change sceptic, as I do believe in the reality of climate change. Therefore if you want to call me names because I disagree with many of the Royal Society certified climate scientists in this country, call me a "IPCC executive summary propaganda sceptic" for example.