The British isles can expect an increase in stormy winter weather in the years ahead, according to Professor Len Shaffrey from the University of Reading. A warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture and produce more rainfall, he said at a conference, entitled The Wind That Shakes the Island, on Friday night at the Royal Dublin Society.

“In a warmer climate one of the things we expect is that the atmosphere will be able to hold more moisture. For every degree the atmosphere gets warmer we expect moisture and, therefore, extreme rainfall to go up by 7%.”

He added that if you look at how much rain has been produced by storms in climate models, there is a 20% to 25% increase in heavily precipitating storms.

“That’s very consistent with this idea that the atmosphere is just getting warmer,” he said. “There is an increase in extra tropical transitions hitting due to tropical cyclones being supported further north and eastward, according to some climate models.”