Researchers are currently developing an hourly weather forecast for the next 85 years, which will help to predict extreme conditions such as heat waves and cold snaps throughout the UK.
The University of Bath and Exeter University are leading the project and say it aims to help scientists and engineers understand how building designs react to different weather conditions. The predicted weather conditions will be forecast until 2100 and will represent typical weather and events such as lightning strikes, rain, flooding and tornadoes.
Over 1,200 types of building designs will be tested throughout the project in order to help establish how external temperature, wind and sun can cause issues for people living inside. Construction companies in North Wales, the North West and across the UK will be given an insight into the way buildings will then need to be designed in the near and distant future.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have awarded the University of Bath a grant of £1million. Professor David Coley at the university mentioned the fact that over 70,000 people died across Europe in 2003 due to a widespread heatwave. The cause of the deaths was not related to the extreme conditions along however, but also linked to the designs of the buildings not being resilient enough to cope with them and protect occupants.
An additional worry is what may happen to homes if the energy grid was disrupted during a cold snap, where people are left in rapidly cooling homes. The new 85-year forecast will provide an understanding of weather events in terms of duration and temperature, as well as the implications of such an event on a building and its residents.
A significant part of this project will be to create an hourly time series of predicted weather over the duration of 85 years, reaching the end of the century. Another part of the project will then be focused on how to ensure buildings become sustainable. Climate change will have a significant impact on the UK building design and energy use in the near future.