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Slingo’s Claim Not Supported By The Data

March 10, 2014

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dr Darko Butina




I have already well covered the Met Office report into the recent storms, issued last month, but Dr Butina alerted me to one particular comment which I had missed. In the BBC article, Julia Slingo, introducing the report, is reported as saying:


The UK had seen the "most exceptional period of rainfall in 248 years.

Unsettled weather at this time of year was not unexpected – but the prolonged spell of rain, as well as the intensity and height of coastal waves, was "very unusual".

We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this," she said. "We have seen some exceptional weather. We can’t say it is unprecedented but it is exceptional."


Dr Butina has his own full analysis here, which is worth a read. But, as soon as I read this statement again, I realised it simply was not true.

Let me explain.

Slingo’s statement was made on 9th February, so it could only have been based on data up to the end of January. So how exceptional was the rainfall at that stage?


January rainfall for the UK, totalling 184.6mm, was only the 17th wettest month since 1910. So, she cannot have been talking about a single month. We also know that November was much drier than normal, so she cannot have been talking about a 3-month spell.

That obviously just leaves the December/January period, which recorded 319.8mm on the England & Wales series, the one she refers to which dates back to 1766. A quick check, however, shows that this amount of rain has been exceeded many times over other 2-month periods. Most of these are either October/November, or November/December, but there is even one December/January period in 1876/7 which comfortably exceeded this year’s figure.

Altogether, there have been ten other periods, which have beaten this year.


Oct 1852 – Nov 1852 324.8
Oct 1929 – Nov 1929 320.2
Oct 1960 – Nov 1960 320.8
Oct 2000 – Nov 2000 370.1
Oct 2002 – Nov 2002 320.4
Nov 1852 – Dec 1852 328.1
Nov 1929 – Dec 1929 374.9
Nov 2000 – Dec 2000 324.3
Nov 2002 – Dec 2002 323.7
Dec 1876 – Jan 1877 340.7
Dec 2013 – Jan 2014 319.8


It will come as no surprise to anyone, who has seen me banging on about it, that 1929/30 was the year with the highest total.


As with her comments about “links to climate change”, I can find nothing in the report which actually backs up her false claim, other than a reference to the 2-month total for one particular region, England SE & Central S, being the highest since 1910 (when records started). Clearly this cannot justify any claims relating back to 1766, nor claims that “The UK had seen the "most exceptional period of rainfall in 248 years”.


Dr Butina asks whether this false claim is a deliberate intention to mislead, or simply a matter of incompetence.

I think we deserve answers.

  1. Retired Dave permalink
    March 10, 2014 8:22 pm

    “Dr Butina asks whether this false claim is a deliberate intention to mislead, or simply a matter of incompetence.

    I think we deserve answers.”

    I don’t know either, but as always the 248 year quote will come back time and time again – just as you meet people everyday who quote other lies about the meteorological state of the planet – even the IPCC itself has been prone to this kind of bending of the narative.

    These people know that even if a grudging retraction is published on page 10 in a couple of months, it is the one inch headlines in the Guardian and BBC broadcasts that will be remembered and recited.

    A question in parliament is the best you can do – if you can get an MP or member of the Lords to ask it in the same way as Doug Keenan managed.

  2. March 10, 2014 8:26 pm

    Come on Paul, those people show they don’t give a stuff about the truth. It’s always the ‘by any means necessary’ and dirty spin. Probably cos CAGW is their religion or for Big Green Biz subsidy/hedgefund money.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    March 10, 2014 10:49 pm

    Perhaps you could phrase a question, and ask your MP to formally submit it to the
    Met Office?

  4. March 11, 2014 2:18 am

    If extra CO2 produces extra rain; how come California, Australia are in drought?! If extra CO2 brings ”less” rain, how come England is flooded?! LIES have shallow roots – get exposed to the daylight by nature.

  5. Brian H permalink
    March 11, 2014 6:10 am

    The question isn’t whether you deserve answers, but whether you can compel them.

  6. Anoneumouse permalink
    March 11, 2014 7:45 am

    The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010

    This legislation placed the Civil Service Code on a statutory footing and states:

    Integrity – putting the obligations of public service above personal interests
    Honesty – being truthful and open
    Objectivity – basing advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence
    Impartiality – acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving governments of different political parties equally well

    Senna the Soothsayer is a civil servant

  7. March 11, 2014 8:34 am

    Reblogged this on CraigM350.

  8. March 11, 2014 11:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Earth Changing Extremities.


  1. Holding Slingo To Account | The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)

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