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Increasing Rainfall Intensity? Not In Oxford!

February 28, 2014

By Paul Homewood




Julia Slingo seems determined to push the “more intense rainfall” claim. I have already shown that there is no evidence of this at a national level during this winter.

But let’s take a closer look at a local level, as national figures don’t always tell the whole story. Oxford has been at the heart of the flooding problems this winter, and it also has a weather station with long running records.




By far the wettest month there this winter was January, which recorded 146.9mm of rainfall, compared to an average of 56.6mm.(December 2013 was much lower, with 97.7mm.) However, monthly totals of this sort of level are not that uncommon, coming along about once every decade on average. We can compare the daily rainfall pattern with some of these earlier years, to see if there is evidence that daily intensity is increasing.

The Met Office have supplied me with daily data at Oxford since 1930, as records prior to that are, apparently, not digitalised. From these, I have selected four months to compare with last month, ignoring recent years for obvious reasons.

The results are shown below, and are quite startling, and show that, far from daily intensity increasing, the reverse has been the case.


  Dec 1934 Nov 1940 Oct 1949 Nov 1970 Jan 2014
Total Rainfall mm 142.2 175.5 161.8 150.3 146.9
Raindays 28 20 16 23 30
Av/Rainday mm 5.1 8.8 10.1 6.5 4.9
Days >10mm 3 7 4 5 3
Days >20mm 0 3 4 1 0
Days >30mm 0 1 2 0 0
Highest Daily Rainfall 17.0 30.7 36.1 20.6 14.5
No of Days >14.5mm 2 5 4 4 0



  • Average rainfall per rainday in Jan 2014 was the lowest of the five, and less than half that recorded in 1940.
  • The highest rainfall recorded this year was 14.5mm, yet in 1949 there daily totals of 36.1, and 20.6mm.
  • In all of the previous four years, there many days with much higher totals than the highest recorded this year.

There was one very good reason why last month was so wet – it rained for every single day of the month except one. This is the total opposite of claims that “daily rainfall intensity” is increasing.


The graph below illustrates well the distribution of daily rainfall for last month and November 1940. In January 2014, the rainfall is actually pretty steady and relentless, whereas in 1940 the rain came in big bursts.




OK, Oxford is just one location, but it would be hard to find anywhere else in England with such anomalously high rainfall in January.

Julia Slingo has all of this information at her fingertips, so why is she telling the opposite story to the press?

  1. Retired Dave permalink
    February 28, 2014 2:27 pm

    “so why is she telling the opposite story to the press?”

    That was rhetorical Paul wasn’t it??

  2. D.M. permalink
    February 28, 2014 2:35 pm

    In England there is an offence “Misconduct in Public Office” which carries severe penalties. Recently a police officer was convicted for telling untruths in the Plebgate affair. Perhaps Julia and others need to be reminded that they are being closely monitored and as Public Servants they are obliged to serve the public who expect complete honesty from them. Anyone can file a complaint for investigation if you have evidence to back it up.

    • Retired Dave permalink
      February 28, 2014 9:59 pm

      Yes they feel secure at the moment, but I have often said that eventually the poiticians will sacrifice climate science activists to save themselves.

  3. J Martin permalink
    February 28, 2014 11:16 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong. but I think that Slingo makes £140,000 per annum. I watched some youtube video of her giving evidence to a worthless bunch of * in the house of commons. I watched her wringing her hands as she talked about “climate change”. Rightly or wrongly I drew my conclusions about her then and there.

  4. Brian H permalink
    March 1, 2014 1:38 am

    So, go for it. File the complaint.

  5. Steve E permalink
    March 1, 2014 11:01 am

    Wasn’t it the MET that forecast a dry winter…..?

  6. Ivor Ward permalink
    March 1, 2014 3:00 pm

    She did not say that this year had more intense rainfall; She said that a warming world would lead to more intense daily and hourly rainfall. Watch the pea as McIntyre says. Plausible deniability at all levels.

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