Telegraph Propagates Extreme Weather Nonsense Again!
UK Telegraph Propagates Extreme Weather Nonsense Again!
By Paul Homewood h/t Green Sand Even by Telegraph standards, this is a truly dreadful piece by Ashley Kirk, another of their new breed of wet behind the ears journalists. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/23/britain-tackle-flooding-face-extreme-weather/ It would appear to have been written with the help of Lord Deben, and makes the usual series of comments about how our extreme weather is getting so much worse, because of “climate change”. The first paragraph rather says it all: The UK is set to be hit by a vicious combination of extreme storms, intense downpours and rising sea levels as it faces the next century. Let’s look at some of the claims: 1) Seven of our 10 wettest years have occurred since 1998. 2013 had the UK’s wettest winter in history, and it was followed just two years later by the next wettest https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly This is true of the UK as a whole, but is solely because rainfall has been increasing in Scotland (as a result of storm tracks tending to shift poleward). We get a totally different picture when we look at England and Wales separately. This is not some academic point, as the article goes on to great lengths to describe flooding problems in England. And, of course, we also have a data set that goes back much further to 1766, the England & Wales Precipitation Series. This tells us that annual rainfall has changed little over the years, and certainly is not becoming more extreme: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadukp/data/monthly/HadEWP_monthly_qc.txt 2) Storm Desmond broke a new record for national rainfall accumulation in a 24-hour period, dropping 34cm of rain at Honister Pass in Cumbria in the 24 hours after 6.30pm on 4 December 2015. As I revealed at the time, the rain gauge at Honister is at an altitude of about 1200 ft in the Lake District, where rainfall amounts will invariably be much higher than in the valleys. Crucially, the gauge has only been collecting daily data since 1992, making any claims of a “record” meaningless. 3) Met Office scientists have said that, by the end of the century, climate change will lead to drier summers that have intense, heavier downpours – carrying a risk of flash flooding. I looked at this claim a month ago, and found that the actual record showed the opposite was true. https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/met-office-claim-of-heavier-summer-downpours-not-borne-out-by-actual-data/ 4) Winters will be wetter, with the potential for higher daily rainfall. This is because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which in turn leads to intensified rainfall. There is no evidence of this in the actual record: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadukp/data/download.html While the winter of 2013/14 is the wettest on record, we know that Nov 1929 to Jan 1930 was actually much wetter, 500mm v 455mm. Both were nothing more than weather events. 5) The Met Office’s latest exercises concluded that, in any winter, there is a one in 10 chance of existing monthly rainfall records being matched or broken in any of the UK’s regions. There are ten such regions, meaning that there are 30 such monthly records to be broke. Given that records only date back to 1910, the arithmetical odds would be about 1-in-4. The Met Office’s analysis is based on models. If they are right, monthly records will become less common! 6) Rising seas add to the problem. The Government’s flooding review said that the UK will likely face a further 11-16cm of sea level rise by 2030, relative to 1990. Sea levels around the UK have been steadily rising since the 19thC. North Shields is typical of the east coast, which faces most problems, rising by 1.91mm/year: https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=170-053#tabupdtrend Far from accelerating, the rate of rise has fallen considerably since the early 20thC: https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=170-053#tabupdtrend PSMSL data confirms that sea levels there have risen by 1.42mm/yr since 1990, a third of the government’s projected rise. Final Thoughts Flooding has been with us since time immemorial, and it is right that we continue to take action to mitigate it. The article, to be fair, does cover this aspect in some detail. But if Telegraph journalists want to bring climate change in to the debate, perhaps they should check their facts with people who know about these matters, rather than take the word of John Gummer.
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