Slingo’s Claim Not Supported By The Data
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.