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« Pielke Jr on politicised science | Main | Quality, quantity, both or neither »
Thursday
Jan032013

Water, water everywhere

The Met Office is hot out of the blocks on the climate front this year, issuing the first "climate disaster" story of the year via the BBC's Roger Harrabin.

The frequency of extreme rainfall in the UK may be increasing, according to analysis by the Met Office.

Statistics show that days of particularly heavy rainfall have become more common since 1960.

The analysis is still preliminary, but the apparent trend mirrors increases in extreme rain seen in other parts of the world.

It comes as the Met Office prepares to reveal whether 2012 was the wettest year on record in the UK.

Given the apparently overwhelming drought risk in the South East of England - of similar magnitude to the Sahara apparently - we should probably be grateful for this rain. And while we're on the topic, let's not forget the Institute of Civil Engineers' report on water availability in the UK:

By the 2050s, summer river flows may reduce by 35% in the driest parts of England and by 15% for the wetter river basin regions in Scotland. This will put severe pressure on current abstractions of water.

This being the year of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, I think we should expect a lot of this kind of thing in coming months.

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Reader Comments (60)

It will be interesting to see if the Met office analysis uses the full data set, or a truncated form. I am picking that it will only show data from say 1950, so eliminate the wet periods in the 40s.
Unlike temperature, rainfall is something that does need "correction", and has comprehensive records, so there is little opportunity for data manipulation. No doubt once the data set is out, one of the maths wizz types can check it against the Had Cru data set to see if there is a month on month correlation. That is also something I am picking has a very poor R2, hence their use of the strategic maybe.

Jan 3, 2013 at 7:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterChrisM

As usual, the headlines both on the radio coverage and the BBC website are rather more dramatic than the rest of the article would seem to support. I gather the figures are still 'preliminary' but must be firm enough to justify a widely publicised press release? Perhaps the met office would like to do a guest post here showing some of the numbers, so we can separate the real information from the wild imaginings of the sub-editors?

Jan 3, 2013 at 7:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

We're now at war with Eastasia. We've always been at war with Eastasia.

Do you know what the REAL problem with this is? People, generally, are so stupid that they wont remember the dire predictions of severe long-lasting drought the Met Office were giving us just 6 months ago. They think they can get away with this disingenuous fibbing BECAUSE THEY CAN.

Jan 3, 2013 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

The WWF controllers of the Met. Office and their carbon trading backers are getting desperate because the public sees cold wet weather, compares it with the predictions of hot dry weather and says 'We were conned'.

Jan 3, 2013 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Usual 'may', 'apparent' from Harabin. If they have done the analysis he should be saying 'their analysis shows that extreme rainfall events HAVE increased.

NOTE 'from 1960'. they are real scumbags, aren't they.

Jan 3, 2013 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Most Australians have long appreciated the British sense of humour, much of which is based on the absurd. Thank goodness that nothing has changed on that front.

Jan 3, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Pond

Those metrological folk and their lying machines

The tempreture goes Up, Tiddly, Up, Up.

And never Down, Tiddly, Down, Down.

They enchant Poloticians and steal all the scenes

With their temperatures Up, Tiddly, Up, Up

And never Down, Tiddly, Down, Down.

Up! never Down! lying around.

Bluffing the bluff and defying the crowd.

They're all, frightfully mean

Those metrological folk and their lying machines

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Tie in Harabin's apparent involvement with "strategy" and institutional editorial policy making and those dozen or so formulaic scary weirdy wevver programmes which magically popped simultaneously out of BBC regional units last week and I don't think it's paranoid to say that there's an organised and concerted campaign going on.

The regional items prep the punters with scary weather and then the great communicator ambles out and pronounces...

What's the weather been like on Teletubbies? Squishy, wishi mopandbucket oooohhhh

The future of BBC climate coverage windmills 'n all

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:08 AM | Registered Commentertomo

What I took from that was 'blah, blah, blah, maybe, preliminary, potential, blah, blah, blah..." followed by "...The Met Office no longer publishes a seasonal forecast and will not speculate on whether 2013 will produce frequent extreme rain..."
Not publishing a seasonal forecast is not the same thing as not making/preparing a seasonal forecast, for which we've paid and should therefore be able to gain access via FOI, also, I wasn't aware we had ever paid them to 'speculate', rather they are given enormous sums of money to forecast. Words have meanings...

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

As noted above, the same institution was claiming the drought of earlier in the year, was predicted to "possibly" last until December. It didn't, their prediction failed, yet again! Even if it was the wettest year on record it would still be meaningless, as the average annual rainfall hasn't changed to any significance for 150 years, since records began, their own data shows this clearly! One minute they're rubbing their hands with glee because a prediction might actually come true, the next they're falling over themselves to put a "positive" spin on failure! What a bunch of rent-seeking, excuse making, failures, all to the tune of £234M a year! Little mention by the BBC of the severe cold in USA, none of the Russian winter, & still insisting that Ranulf Feines will march across Antarctica to the South Pole in the Southern Hemisphere's mid-summer in total darkness! Bizarre or what!

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

The MO website shows the rainfall stats for all the UK regions and nowhere is there an English region. There is England and Wales combined (divided into regions) and then Scotland (and regions) and Northern Island. So where do the numbers come from to conclude that England (alone) had its wettest year ever in 2012 without generating an entirely new set of stats? Furthermore, 2012 is already listed as having the 25th highest rainfall based on the seasonal year December to November.

If you want to see how the MO are once more twisting and turning to create the catastrophic meme go to http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadukp/

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Porter

It is very sad to see the Met Office continuing with this game, as they should know that rainfall patterns have a high degree of natural variability, not just over months and years, but decades and centuries. The last 60 years are just a snapshot. If they had spent a little time looking over historical records e.g. Climate History of the British Isles I doubt they would be they would be so alarmist and foolish. As I have remarked before, the records from 1750-1799 suggest that the extreme weather events we have experienced the last 30 years are nothing unusual or unprecedented.

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

SteveW

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master — that's all."
Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Why are sceptics so cynical? If droughts are predicted and we get floods that does not mean that there is anything wrong with our climate models. It should be obvious to everyone that because of climate change, which is caused by increasing CO2 levels, we should expect more weather than ever before. Because we are getting and will get more weather, we can expect that it will be hotter, colder, wetter, drier ... etc. than ever before. Whatever happens the cause will be the same and it will all be our fault.

Jan 3, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

@ Mike Jackson - Quite. A very apt few lines to describe the way this whole farago is handled from the establishment side.

Jan 3, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteveW

Thought I would update myself on UK rainfall - so I did a Google search and came up with this from June 2011.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jun/10/data-store-drought?INTCMP=SRCH

If I do a Google search or any other search engine on Climate related issues, I often avoid the Guardian as I know it will be in the "mis-informed" category. So I nearly wet myself (pun intended) when I couldn't avoid clicking on the above.

The Heading - Datablog - facts are sacred. A bit of oxymoron surely.

I have only eye-balled the data and we know that if you artificially define a boundary (does the climate know it's now 2013) you can make all-sorts of non-trends look a bit like a trend.

I am sure if you massage the data, you can show this or that, but what is an average UK rainfall? Even if you use the same sites for 100 years and I sure they have not - what does that mean? It is interesting of course, but........................

Jan 3, 2013 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

I do believe that it is significant that Richard Betts has not appeared here recently considering the fact that the good Bishop bent over backwards to make his visits as painless for him as possible.
The view I hold is that he has questions to answer and should be asked those questions (although politely and without threat).
He is not forced to be a lead author at the IPCC for AR5 and he is not THE Met Office however he IS Head of the Climate Impacts strategic area. Richard is up to his neck in everything that we have been fighting against and yet never seemed to comment about those issues while on BH.
There is no point rolling out the red carpet for this man unless he is open and honest with us.

Jan 3, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterDung

Roy - there are a few statements you have made there that have no basis in reality. It is just a statement of faith.

AGW was a theory and some models. The models have not been right yet. As Feynman said if your data don't fit your theory - your theory is wrong. Climate science works the other way round. The science is settled - it must be the data that's wrong!!

The Earth's temp has been rising overall for 300 years at the same overall rate. No acceleration and no unprecedented temps. We are currently at the cold end of the Holocene interglacial - 9000 years of the last 10,000 have been warmer than today.

The temp has been stationary for 16 years and 30% of the CO2 we have emitted has been put out in that 16 years. This is not how the models react to such an input - well their fudge-factored of course.

Hurricane intensity and frequency are at a 50 year low. In a warming world this is what you would expect, but that is not scary enough. The reduction of temp contrast from N Pole to Equator would suggest less activity.

Antarctic sea ice is continuing to grow - it has done all through the 30 year satellite record.

Arctic sea ice did not MELT to its lowest ever (30 years) level in August 2012 - much of the loss occurred in one week due to a large storm - now admitted by NASA. Currently Arctic sea ice is close to the Dec/Jan average (30 years) and back in March 2012 it was above the 30 year average (there was a big article in the Gruniad - Oh there wasn't? that's strange, I wonder why?).

Reports from the Royal Society in 1815 suggest that there was as little summer ice in the Arctic then as now and there are photos of US nuclear subs surfacing through the Arctic ice within a few miles of the pole in the 1950,s

There is currently NO evidence that CO2 is a major driver of climate and much that hints it's not. Mankind does a lot of damage on this planet, but the only way forward is not to believe in fairy tales but data. Climate is now 80% politics and activism riddled with lies - like Hurricane Sandy was unprecedented!!! - it didn't even make it into the top 10 for the New York area. Devastating though the storm-surge was driven by a high spring tide, wind speeds were not Hurricane force (75mph mean gust in the 90's) as it made landfall. One Cat 3 hurricane in 1938 had gusts up 180mph and a similar storm surge. Experts in the hurricane field have left the IPCC process because the UN, including its Sec Gen are telling untruths to bolster their political agenda.

One has to stay sceptical in the face of demonstrable lies.

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Here's a picture: http://fourdjones.webs.com/extremeEngland.png

The rainfall data is the result of adding together all the English regions. It shows for each year the number of days that rainfall exceeded 55mm which is about the 99th percentile which I've used as an ad hoc definition of extreme. (2012 is wrong as the Met Office has yet to publish the figures for December).

Is the statement, "Statistics show that days of particularly heavy rainfall have become more common since 1960" justified? Overall I'd say yes but I don't see the significance of 1960.

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRich

Yes Harrabin is very much back and doing what he does best , pimping for 'the cause ' by hyping guesses has facts .

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Thanks Rich, that's very helpful. Puts things in a bit of perspective.

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

The met office site contains archive data from UK stations going back a hundred years or so. The data is in text form but easy to download and plot some graphs for rainfall around the country. Eye-balling does not detect any obvious trends.

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:35 AM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

SteveW
I especially like that very prescient observation, "the question is: who is to be master ..."
As The BigYin reminded us up-thread, "we have always been at war with Eastasia."
More Orwell:

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
There is an article on the DT website about the effect of climate change on the English lawn!
Two things worth noticing.
1 This quote from Slingo:
We should all be worried about climate change, we are taking the planet into unchartered territories through our own activities.
We are taking our planet into a climate that we haven't seen for a very, very long time, going back to before there were gardens in the UK.
2 Comments are off which means we don't have the chance to challenge her or the DT on this rather dubious claim.

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:51 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Dear Met Office (if anyone is listening! Dr Betts?)

Please take a look at the Nilometer at Rhoda. It is the longest running climate instrumental record, spanning seven centuries of almost unbroken river run off data (an indirect measure of regional rainfall). You will see extreme events tend to cluster at all scales without human forcing. This is normal behaviour of rainfall on this planet, and therefore cannot be evidence of climate change. Your 99th percentile is incorrectly located if it does not account for this.

So what was the Nilometer built for, nearly 1200 years ago? The wikipedia entry tells us:

The ability to predict the volume of the coming inundation was part of the mystique of the Ancient Egyptian priesthood. The same skill also played a political and administrative role, since the quality of the year's flood was used to determine the levels of tax to be paid.

Not much has changed in the last 1200 years, apparently.

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

The total rainfall for the UK during 2012 was 1,330.7mm (523.9in), just 6.6mm short of the record set in 2000. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20898729)

You think they could have adjusted it up a bit to get a new record - that's just lazy!

PS Wow - just noticed the 523 inches conversion from 1.3 metre.

PPS - now corrected, but incorrectly. It's isn't hard, is it?

Jan 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM | Registered Commentersteveta

Rain strips CO2 out of the atmosphere. Back of envelope calculation shows CO2 removal roughly equal to the annual high-to-low swing in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Over land there is probably a lot of re-release, but over the oceans I assume the CO2 is mostly incorporated into the surface layer (short term).
So will all that forecast rain 'turn the tide' on CO2 increases?
<grin>

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave in Delaware

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2256385/Extreme-weather-kill-British-lawns-gardeners-warned-expect-daises-buttercups.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Climate change to put an end to Crown Green Bowling

Yeah yeah yeah
Like the World was supposed to end 21 December last year

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Dung, if I read Richard Betts correctly, the reason he's not here justifying it speaks volumes in itself. The Met Office will not be a monolith of dogmatic belief, but it does give out a 'party line' which it would be foolhardy as an employee to publically decry, and again I think its unreasonable of us to expect people to do that. Look at it tactically, I'd rather 20 or 30 Betts kept their jobs at the Met Office and said nothing (for now), than be sacked and replaced by alarmist clones, all for the futile act of slagging off an employer on a blog. The bigger picture is more important and the more good people keep quiet for now the easier it will be when the time comes.

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

...Given the apparently overwhelming drought risk in the South East of England - of similar magnitude to the Sahara apparently - we should probably be grateful for this rain...

I'd be a lot more grateful for some reservoirs to put it in, so that when the rain stops we still have some water to drink...

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Given the references to George Orwell above, the latest Met Office decadal forecast contains the finest example of doublethink that I have ever seen in my life:

"During 2012 our decadal prediction system was upgraded to use the latest version of our coupled climate model. The forecasts and retrospective forecasts shown here have been updated to reflect this change...... The forecast of continued global warming is largely driven by increasing levels of greenhouse gases."

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/long-range/decadal-fc

Retrospective forecasts! - what are these people smoking, and where can I get some?

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Spence_UK

This may also interest you. The MO do not accept the reality of the long term variability seen in the recent multi-proxies, either because of uncertainties in the data or because of issues related to averaging.

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:42 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

So if its been record breaking Rainfall in the UK Mainland

How much rain have they had in the rest of Europe and Ireland

Surely if the Surface temperature has risen uniformly more precipitation more rain uniformly.

What are the off shore weather recording instruments on North Sea Oil Rigs and Fishing Boats Weather Buoys Lighthouses in the Shetlands and that tiny island Rockall all saying.

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

".. The forecast of continued global warming is largely driven by increasing levels of greenhouse gases."

Is it even disputed that this is programmed in? That GHE processes are not modelled, just a defined sensitivity range? The models ought not to be used to demonstrate that which they assume.

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda


Professor Alan Jenkins told Sky News the shift from dry to wet conditions in the past 10 months has been remarkable.

"Back in March we were looking at a very dry situation and we were heading into one of the biggest droughts that the south east of England has ever experienced.

"So the wet year of 2012 ... will be based really on nine very wet months rather than 12, so you can imagine that's a lot of rain."

Notice the pea getting hidden, regional drought with national rain stats?

I seem to recall posting at the beginning of last spring that the ground water levels in the Midlands were high, as when it rained surface water remained for days, but that didn't matter when there is a drought to be had.

Wasn't there also many posts about the under investment in reservoirs being the major cause of the mini drought in the South East, good job we have a realistic minister on the case now.

Rather gives the impression again that some figures are thrown into the cauldron with a little whispering to the right ears of those who produce the news and hey presto another crisis that can be used to raise public funds to cover infrastructure projects that have been neglected during the years that available funds have been channeled into Quangos and NGO's.

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

I read recently that the last year's 'record' rainfall in England was almost exactly the same figure as Scotland's lowest recorded rainfall. I wonder if the clouds know where the border is..?

Jan 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Retired Dave wrote:

Roy - there are a few statements you have made there that have no basis in reality. It is just a statement of faith.

I assumed that anyone reading my comments would be able to recognise sarcasm when they see it!

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

This thread has gone off at a curious tangent.

The whole purpose of building a science career is to develop a nice trajectory, with regular advances, time off to spend with the family, and an inflation adjusted state pension at the end.

Science is categorically not about new ideas or challenging orthodoxy. That will limit the career and frighten the sponsors. The sponsor is government. They will accept the science they pay for, and own the scientists they buy.

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

I'm sure Harrabin and the MET will be able to point to the prediction they made (and publicised) last year, or the year before, or the year before that, forecasting that rainfall would begin to increase dramatically over 2012 and the future.

What's that? They didn't make any such prediction? And in fact made a prediction (and publicised it) that rainfall would decrease during the same period?

How strange. That would make them lying, opportunistic alarmists.

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

I nearly put my fist through the telly when Roger Harrabin was on this morning..
'If temperatures continue to rise as predicted...'
Er - someone shake him warmly by the throat and explain to him in words of one syllable, which even a BBC environment correspondent can understand, that 'the global temperature has not risen for sixteen years...'
'Wettest since records began..' (Second wettest actually..)
So when did records begin..? About a hundred years ago..? How long has the planet and its climate been in existence..? 4.5 billion years..? You see where I'm going with this..?
Anyway - it seems the Met Office has (sensibly) decided not to issue long-range forcasts for this year - you can only take so much egg on your face, I guess. BUT - they are apparently still able to predict the climate in 2100..
Wonders will never cease...

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

http://www.met.ie/climate-ireland/rainfall.asp

http://www.english.rfi.fr/visiting-france/20120711-frances-rainy-summer-will-it-last

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/18465156

http://www.netherlands.climatemps.com/

http://notrickszone.com/2012/07/06/observed-reality-contradicts-climate-model-projections-again-germany-gets-another-rain-soaked-summer/

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=77877

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4564469/british-expat-dead-spanish-floods.html

Start looking through the European historical records for floods and droughts from about the 1900 backwards

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

"2012 being the wettest ever year in England, but only the 40th wettest in Northern Ireland, the 17th wettest in Scotland and the third wettest in Wales. Northern Scotland was considerably dryer than average."

So, climate change proven in England and Wales, but not in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterratty

This is rather amusing in the light of today's BBC/MO proclamation.

http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=10865

Jan 3, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterjazznick

Drat. Beat me to it ratty.

'The Met Office said this was the wettest year on record for England, the third wettest for Wales, the 17th wettest on record for Scotland and the 40th wettest for Northern Ireland.

The records date back to 1910.' - Mark Kinver, BBC Science/ Environment website 3/1/13.

Why is it that Scotland and Northern Ireland are adapting so much better to CAGW, global warming. climate change, climate disruption and/or weather weirding? Must be the wind turbines!

Jan 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commentercolin maclean

Philip Richens, thanks for the link. I find the work conducted by Lovejoy and colleagues to be very interesting, and have read some of their earlier papers - thanks for linking this more recent one. I agree strongly with their conclusions regarding climate. Interesting to see Dr Betts reviewing as well!

In my own analyses, I have yet to find any evidence of the "macroweather" portion of their spectral analysis. That's not to say it isn't there - but the work I've done on the satellite data (which is around this region) doesn't show this behaviour very clearly. I probably need to sit down and understand what they have done better in order to reconcile it with my own analysis.

Jan 3, 2013 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

Happy New Year from Boston, USA.
Just got back from New Hampshire which is having its best skiing for years.
Surely some mistake?
Outside temperature at 8am was -17C. Predicted high -7C.
Yes it is alot colder than normal here, but unlike when it is warmer, it is not widely
reported.

Jan 3, 2013 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Via twitter:

Ben Jackson ‏@BenJacksonSun
Lest we forget. "The UK is likely to get hotter drier summers..." Met Office climate projections 2009 http://bit.ly/VyaKl9

and Barry Woods found this
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/17/dry-winter-drought-weather-forecast
which reports that
"As well as the recent dry weather, water companies and environment regulators are expecting the UK to have more frequent dry winters as a result of climate change."

Jan 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Can we please just file this in 'weather is not climate'.

Last couple of years have been relatively dry, particularly over winter, and at this point last year we were hearing how water restrictions were going to be necessary (at least for the south-east, and particularly my area of Hertfordshire where the majority of the water is recovered from aquifers rather than surface storage) if there was not substantial rain in the rest of winter. Also, that this was a weather pattern we should expect to continue because of climate change.

Then the water restrictions were put in place across much of England and the next day it started to rain and has barely stopped since (the weather God has a sense of humour - the Gore effect, Parliament passing the Climate Change Act on the first snowy October day in London for 70+ years and now this). I remember the picture WUWT had up of the London bus poster about the drought and water restrictions travelling through an absolute deluge in April or May.

Oh, and as others have commented, the difference in global temperatures over the last couple of years are trivial (<0.1 degrees C), and the difference in temperature in the UK not much difference 2011 to 2012.

The only reasonable conclusion I can see is that we still don't know from one year to the next (or indeed for much more than a few days ahead) what the weather is going to do.

One thing that has not been commented on with regard to changes in 'extreme' rainfall events over the last 50 years is the effect of loss of free draining material (and of plants to take up the water) and the increase in the amount of ground under concrete and other essentially impermeable surfaces - this means once rain falls it can more readily be re-evaporated and increase the rainfall downwind (the finger-print of this would be if the frequency of 'extreme' events is largely unchanged in the south-west but is increased further east).

Jan 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Blanchard

The following is from the pen of Philip Eden in the Sunday Telegraph 30th Dec 2012. The bold is mine

Record rainfall and dull days will put 2012 in history books

The England and Wales precipitation series is a record of monthly rainfall statistics that extends to 1766. There are other rainfall series, notably for Britain and its constituent countries, but all of these date from 1910 only. For a true historical perspective, we need to refer to the one that began in 1766.

The amount of rain that has fallen so far in 2012 has been 47.24in, which is about 126 per cent of the long term average. The only years that were wetter than 2012 in the two-and-a-half century long record were 2000 with 48.33in, 1872 with 50.59in, 1852 with 47.76in and 1768 with 49.11in. There were only four instances in 247 years. Therefore, we can say that, on average, a year as wet as 2012 has a one-in-60 chance of recurring…….

Philip Eden
Past vice president of the Royal Meteorological Society.

There is a lot more in the article but I can’t find it online, so no link.

Jan 3, 2013 at 2:55 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I too read Philip Eden's rebuttal and for those who have not yet found it, commend his CET series based on data collection points more analogous to the original series than those used by the MO since the 1990s http://www.climate-uk.com/provisional.htm
I also heard a representative of Anglian Water state on tv today that people in that area should cut consumption by 20 litres pd in order to balance the near term deficit. His response to the suggestion that more reservoirs should be built was non commital and evasive to say the least, and I gathered from his reply that reservoirs did not feature in the 50 year plan of that Authority .
So smart water meters and smart electric meters will soon control large areas of our lives as those we thought to be our servants suddenly become the masters of the increasingly brainwashed population educated post 1965.

Jan 3, 2013 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterroger

In fact, the British climate doesn't do extreme anything, never mind rain.

The Met-Office knows this. Roger the Harrabin needs to start taking more foreign holidays.

Jan 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

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