Figure 1 – England Wales Precipitation (October – March) 1766 – 2016 – data courtesy of the Met Office
Dr Adam Scaife has been at it at the Met Office again, or more correctly I should say that Dr Vikki Thompson the lead author of the report ‘High risk of unprecedented rainfall in the UK in the current climate‘ has. News of her findings are in the latest Met Office blog, in which she says:-
“Our computer simulations provided one hundred times more data than is available from observed records. Our analysis showed that these events could happen at any time and it’s likely we will see record monthly rainfall in one of our UK regions in the next few years”
According to the article:-
“Analysing these simulated events showed there is a 7% risk of record monthly rainfall in south-east England in any given winter. When other regions of England and Wales are also considered this increases to a 34% chance”
I can’t totally agree with her when she says in the included video that:-
“…older records are now no longer so relevant to the current risk because climate has changed over the past century”
My question to her would be – “why do we know climate has changed?” – the answer to that is because we already have existing rainfall data back to 1910, wouldn’t it then be wise to digitise all the rainfall data that the Victorian’s collected from 1859, and just see how unprecedented (and believable) the rainfall events that their new supercomputer has generated?
Sometimes I think that the NWP programmers have taken over the
asylum Met Office, rather than the climatologists taking the lead in these investigations, or perhaps they’ve fused together as one being that does both.
They maybe onto a winner with this one though, because a quick look at the “real” (or as close as we are going to get it) gridded England Wales Precipitation from 1766, and the simple linear trend is definitely upwards and wetter by 22.7% in those 250 years (fig 1). If the total rainfall across the October-March period has increased, then you would logically infer that the number of unprecedented months has also increased.
The article goes onto say:-
The authors have named this novel research method the UNSEEN method to emphasize that this analysis anticipates possible events that have just not yet been seen.
I can’t see a link to the report that they are talking about in the blog, so it maybe that they’ve applied the “unseen method” to that, and we are to rely on the infographic (fig 2) for people with really short attention spans like myself.
Figure 3 – Courtesy of the Met Office
So if Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and magnitude of severe flooding events as many people think, why has rainfall declined, and not increased in the other half of the year? I reckon that April to September precipitation is 13% lower than it was 250 years ago (fig 3). But of course older rainfall records are now no longer as relevant these days, because the climate has changed so much, and we should probably just disregard it.
Figure 4 – England Wales Precipitation (April – September) 1766 – 2016 – data courtesy of the Met Office