The fact that we have had similar, and worse, periods of weather 80+ years ago suggests that natural forces explain these events, and that there is no reason at all to play the “climate change card”
Back in February, Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, was reported by the BBC, when discussing the recent wet winter, as saying:
“The UK had seen the most exceptional period of rainfall in 248 years…. We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this. We have seen some exceptional weather. We can’t say it is unprecedented but it is exceptional.
There was no definitive answer to what caused the storms, but all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change”
I pointed out at the time that these statements simply were not supported by the data, and asked the Met Office to justify them. (Remember that this report was on 9th February, so she only had Dec/Jan data to go on). After three attempts on their part to sidetrack the issue, they have totally failed to back up these statements, other to to say in justification that she said “We can’t say it is unprecedented”.
Of course, nobody would say it was “unprecedented” as we only have records back to 1766, and therefore cannot know what happened before. The reality, though, is that in the records since 1766 there have been other years with even greater rainfall, whether measured over one, two, three or four month periods. Consistently, we find that the period of October 1929 to January 1930 stand out as much wetter than this winter, or any other similar periods in the records since 1910.
Let’s just recap the numbers for the UK, as a whole.
The wettest month this winter was December, with 187.6mm. This ranks only 5th, since 1910. The wettest December was 1929, with 213.0mm.
Furthermore, there have been 13 other months since 1910 with greater rainfall.
The wettest 2-month period this winter was Dec/Jan, which totalled 371.4mm, but this was exceeded between November and December 1929, when 401.0mm fell.
The wettest 3-month spell this winter was Dec-Feb, when 531.7mm fell, less than the 554.0mm of Nov 1929 to January 1930.
Between November 2013 and February 2014, we had 624.2mm of rain. But from October 1929 to January 1930 there was 706.0mm
It is clear, on all measurements, that rainfall in 1929/30 was a lot more intense and extreme than anything we have had this past winter.
We can also draw similar conclusions for England, as opposed to the UK.
First, the 3-month figures, where this winter only ranks 4th.
|Nov 1929 to Jan 1930||455.1|
|Oct 1960 to Dec 1960||396.3|
|Oct 2000 to Dec 2000||442.1|
|Dec 2013 to Feb 2014||395.6|
And for the 4-month period, this year only ranks 5th since 1910.
|Nov 1914 to Feb 1915||495.6|
|Oct 1929 to Jan 1930||567.2|
|Oct 1960 to Jan 1961||500.8|
|Sep 2000 to Dec 2000||557.0|
|Nov 2013 to Feb 2014||463.0|
The South of England has particularly suffered from flooding this year, but even here it has not been as wet as 1929/30.
|Oct 1929 to Dec 1929||457.7|
|Oct 2000 to Dec 2000||431.6|
|Dec 2013 to Feb 2014||404.8|
|Nov 1914 to Feb 1915||481.8|
|Oct 1929 to Jan 1930||562.9|
|Oct 1960 to Jan 1961||493.3|
|Oct 2000 to Jan 2001||509.5|
|Nov 2013 to Feb 2014||471.8|
Julia Slingo tells us that:
1) The UK had seen the most exceptional period of rainfall in 248 years.
2) We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this.
In fact, neither statement is true. Is she even aware of this? I suspect not, which, if true, reflects rather badly on her.
She also says:
“ but all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change”
The fact that we have had similar, and worse, periods of weather 80+ years ago suggests that natural forces explain these events, and that there is no reason at all to play the “climate change card” .
In which case, one wonders why she did.