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Nailing The “Increasing Rainfall” Lie

February 4, 2014

By Paul Homewood

 

 

I will be doing a detailed report on the Somerset floods this week, but I really had to respond to some more nonsense, apparently spouted by a so called scientist in the Sunday Telegraph this week.

In a report by Andrew Gilligan, the relative merits were being discussed, as to whether the Somerset Levels should be allowed to return to their natural state or properly dredged again.

 

“I’ve lived in around seven temporary places in the last year and a bit, I’m just sick of it,” says Keith Madge.

“I’ve worked all my life to get something like this. Why should I give it up? The authorities just need to make a decision about what they’re going to do with the area. Do they want it for people to live in, or do they want it for animals?”

As it happens, most flood scientists see the issue in the same stark terms – but from the polar opposite side. Their answer to Mr Madge’s question is that, in the face of climate change and greatly increased rainfall, the Somerset Levels, and other flood-prone areas, should indeed be gradually abandoned by humans.

Retreat is the only sensible policy,” says Colin Thorne, professor of physical geography at Nottingham University and a leading flood expert. “If we fight nature, we will lose in the end.”

 

It is not totally clear whether the good professor actually made the comment about “increased rainfall” or not. But, either way, it is time to get the record straight.

When we talk of flooding in Somerset, it is nearly always a winter event, and the reason is easy to see. Climatologically, the four wettest months of the year are October through January. February and March also tend to be slightly higher than the summer months.

 

 image

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/climate/yeovilton-somerset#?tab=climateGraphs

 

So, the question is simple. Is rainfall increasing for those six “winter months”. (This concept of Oct – March is a well established one, by the way). From the Met Office precipitation data for SW England & S Wales, we get the following plot. (Obviously, the figures don’t include this current winter).

 

image

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Rainfall/date/England_SW_and_S_Wales.txt

 

So, no, there is no evidence that “winter” rainfall is increasing.

If Professor Thorne really did make that comment, he should be ashamed of himself for not bothering to check the facts first. And even if he did not, he still stands accused of not correcting the misconception, that other “flood scientists” are reported to have.

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5 Comments
  1. February 4, 2014 11:39 am

    News Media isn’t about truth it’s just infotainment .. and part of that is that people like to have their own biases confirmed.
    – One trick maybe used here is to ring around lots of people/scientists asking a leading questions until you get the answer you want ..then just throw away all the answers you don’t like and print your favoured one (usually the most dramatic).
    … It’s only about 18 months that we wer estuck in a never ending drought
    ..how are those chalk aquifers these days ?

  2. February 4, 2014 12:49 pm

    I’ve emailed the Prof pointing him to the above and asked for his comments. Usually when I do this, I get no reply. We’ll see.

  3. Derek Buxton permalink
    February 4, 2014 12:59 pm

    And just who is this “expert” to deprive the Country of a large agricultural area and the People of their homes? Property Rights used ot mean something in this Country and the Levels were not drained yesterday, it was 2 or 300 years ago. It worked all that time until some idiot politician stuck his nose in. I wonder if Holland will be asked to surrender all the land they reclaimed whilst keeping draining more?

  4. February 5, 2014 3:33 am

    If CO2 was increasing floods – CO2 is evenly distributed = should be floods everywhere. Instead there are droughts in Australia, California….why?

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