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Holding Slingo To Account

April 25, 2014

By Paul Homewood




Back in February, Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s Chief Scientist, was reported by the BBC, when discussing the recent wet winter, as saying:


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

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

There was no definitive answer to what caused the storms, but all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change



I pointed out at the time that these statements simply were not supported by the data, and asked the Met Office to justify them. (Remember that this report was on 9th February, so she only had Dec/Jan data to go on). After three attempts on their part to sidetrack the issue, they have totally failed to back up these statements, other to to say in justification that she said “We can’t say it is unprecedented”.

Of course, nobody would say it was “unprecedented” as we only have records back to 1766, and therefore cannot know what happened before. The reality, though, is that in the records since 1766 there have been other years with even greater rainfall, whether measured over one, two, three or four month periods. Consistently, we find that the period of October 1929 to January 1930 stand out as much wetter than this winter, or any other similar periods in the records since 1910.


Let’s just recap the numbers for the UK, as a whole.



The wettest month this winter was December, with 187.6mm. This ranks only 5th, since 1910. The wettest December was 1929, with 213.0mm.

Furthermore, there have been 13 other months since 1910 with greater rainfall.



The wettest 2-month period this winter was Dec/Jan, which totalled 371.4mm., but this was exceeded between November and December 1929, when 401.0mm fell.



The wettest 3-month spell this winter was Dec-Feb, when 531.7mm fell, less than the 554.0mm of Nov 1929 to January 1930.



Between November 2013 and February 2014, we had 624.2mm of rain. But from October 1929 to January 1930 there was 706.0mm



It is clear, on all measurements, that rainfall in 1929/30 was a lot more intense and extreme than anything we have had this past winter.




We can also draw similar conclusions for England, as opposed to the UK.

First, the 3-month figures, where this winter only ranks 4th.


Nov 1929 to Jan 1930 455.1
Oct 1960 to Dec 1960 396.3
Oct 2000 to Dec 2000 442.1
Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 395.6



And for the 4-month period, this year only ranks 5th since 1910.


Nov 1914 to Feb 1915 495.6
Oct 1929 to Jan 1930 567.2
Oct 1960 to Jan 1961 500.8
Sep 2000 to Dec 2000 557.0
Nov 2013 to Feb 2014 463.0



Southern England

The South of England has particularly suffered from flooding this year, but even here it has not been as wet as 1929/30.


Oct 1929 to Dec 1929 457.7
Oct 2000 to Dec 2000 431.6
Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 404.8



Nov 1914 to Feb 1915 481.8
Oct  1929 to Jan 1930 562.9
Oct  1960 to Jan 1961 493.3
Oct  2000 to Jan 2001 509.5
Nov 2013 to Feb 2014 471.8






Julia Slingo tells us that:


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

2) We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this.


In fact, neither statement is true. Is she even aware of this? I suspect not, which, if true, reflects rather badly on her.


She also says:


but all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change


The fact that we have had similar, and worse, periods of weather 80+ years ago suggests that natural forces explain these events, and that there is no reason at all to play the “climate change card” .

In which case, one wonders why she did.

One also wonders why she and the rest of the Met Office have been so reluctant to ever mention any of the facts about 1929/30, that I have shown above. Could it be that any attempt to fix the blame on “climate change” would by necessity founder? Is the intention to mislead?

People are encouraged to believe that this sort of weather has never happened before, so that they then make the link to climate change. If they were to learn the truth, they might think differently.

In any event, such selective use of the data is thoroughly reprehensible. We have had everyone and his aunt, right up to the PM and the ex-Archbishop, not to mention the idiot, Davey, blame the weather this year on global warming. Surely, a truly independent and objective Met Office, funded by the taxpayer, should be standing up saying that we have had this sort of weather before, and that the same natural forces are likely to be responsible again?



GISS Footnote

I have run the GISS temperature maps for Nov/Dec 1929 below.





Check out the Arctic plunge of air over the eastern half of the States, and the warm air over the western half and Alaska. Look familiar?

The reality is the jet stream was operating in just the same fashion in 1929, with the cold Arctic blast pushing it far south, and bringing warm, moist and stormy weather to the British Isles, just as it has this winter.

It’s a pity Slingo does not study the past. That way, she might understand the present and the future better.



All data from the Met Office

  1. Derek permalink
    April 25, 2014 11:02 pm

    Great research. You have Dame Julia banged to rights. Sadly this will not make the TV news as it does not fulfil their criteria of lots of emotional pictures. Maybe we should sing it to the tune of “there is nothing like a Dame”!

  2. Frank Stuchal permalink
    April 25, 2014 11:45 pm

    Mr Homewood –

    I find your analyses to be fundamental to understanding the global warming controversy. To me as a scientist, I cannot take what is said at face value. I must have data. You provide data, real data, referenced data, for everything you state and for that I commend you. I am however very frustrated in that your data , your conclusions and your message do not go very far relatively speaking – 680 K hits on your website and 460+ folks that follow your blog is not the most effective way to spread your hard work. I have brought you and your data up in discussions I have forced with NOAA over the scientific method, e-mailed Prince Charles asking him to look at your work and the contradictions that exist, all to no avail. I am respectfully asking you to give some thought to making a much bigger impact via book, journal articles (not accepting your work would give an avenue for more publicity), a documentary (The Great Global Warming Swindle), possibly in conjunction with other climate scientists.

    Thank you.

    Frank Stuchal

  3. Joe Public permalink
    April 26, 2014 7:28 am

    It’s like hitting your head against a brick wall, Paul.

    As Frank S states, every statement you make is derived from facts, and, cross-referenced to sources.

    Slingo is merely a politically appointed figurehead, who espouses attractive soundbites compiled by her acolytes. These are then enthusiastically publicised by Aunty in compliance with their 28-Gate affair agenda.

  4. Derek permalink
    April 26, 2014 10:27 am

    I have just read the latest letter page of the LGA magazine First – available on line In it the writer claims that “It was also a record wet winter in the long England and Wales precipitation series which goes back to 1766.” I was going to write in and rebut this, but then realised that your article does not specifically refer to “England and Wales”. Is the writer correct or not?

    • April 26, 2014 8:48 pm

      The writer is correct, 2013/14 was the wettest winter on record for England and Wales.
      The wettest 3 month period for England and Wales was Oct-Dec 2000.

      • April 26, 2014 9:56 pm

        I’m away at mo, Rosie, but it’s worth noting both England and Wales were wetter in 1929 than 2000.

        Yet the E&W series says opposite!

        I’m posting on this when I’m back in a week time. I’d appreciate any views you have.


    • April 26, 2014 9:50 pm


      The England &Wales Series for Oct to Dec 1929 was 500.00mm

      Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 was 456.1mm

      • David permalink
        April 27, 2014 9:33 am


        Worth clarifying again that meteorologically “winter” always means Dec-Feb in the northern hemisphere.

        The writer Derek quotes is correct: 2013/14 is the wettest winter in the EWP record; though not the wettest 3 months, as Elim points out.

      • April 27, 2014 6:04 pm


  5. April 26, 2014 10:45 am

    Reblogged this on CraigM350.

  6. mwhite permalink
    April 26, 2014 11:18 am

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

    As I remember that appeared in all the UK medias headlines, MPs quoted it, journalists quoted it

    “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

    We really need a way to get the facts out to everyone.

  7. April 26, 2014 12:11 pm

    @Derek we have often observed alarmist propagandists play such cherry pick tricks, as due to the law of large numbers if you have enough locations and enough variations of time period there must be one where a record has been nearly broken, UK, Britain, British Isles, south of Enland, Somerset etc. I think Paul has tried to cover his bases, but doesn’t cover E&W

  8. April 26, 2014 1:02 pm

    Reblogged this on windfarmaction and commented:
    Are the ordinary people the only ones that actually check the detail before they open their mouths.

  9. April 26, 2014 5:50 pm

    Have you had responses from the Met Office to your questions?
    If so, are you going to publish these?

  10. Mikky permalink
    April 26, 2014 6:38 pm

    There must be some distortion of the true picture that arises from using fixed month boundaries, I think it would be better (though more work) to use (say) any consecutive set of 4 weeks in place of fixed months.

    It may be fairly common to get (say) 4 consecutive weeks of rainy weather, but much less frequently would those 4 weeks fall exactly on month boundaries.

    No problem given unlimited data, but extreme caution advised on short periods.

    • Mikky permalink
      April 26, 2014 6:47 pm

      There is also the problem of bad weather moving around, for example this winter maybe we got most of Europe’s rain, rather than there being more rain than usual. So ideally the stats would look at neighbouring countries as well.

  11. April 26, 2014 8:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    The UK Met Office embarrasses itself yet again. Sound analysis from Paul Homewood.

  12. edmh permalink
    April 27, 2014 8:47 am

    Having made so many dire predictions of the impending adverse climate catastrophes from overheating, Global Warming / Climate Change advocates fail to accept that a climate change towards a cooler climate is more likely to lead to more intense adverse weather, simply because the energy differential between the tropics and the poles is increased.

    Global Warming advocates only ever propose solutions for the control of Global Warming, (overheating), by reducing CO2 emissions. However at present the climate appears to be changing, (as it continues to do naturally), to a colder phase, probably because of reducing solar activity in the current cycle 24 and onwards and the resulting changes of ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns.

    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates fail to explain how reduction of man-made atmospheric CO2 can ever help to control Climate Change towards a cooling world.

    Nonetheless they continue to press decarbonisation policies as a solution to “Climate Change”.

  13. Ian W permalink
    April 27, 2014 6:16 pm

    It should not be forgotten that all these claims of ‘Climate Change’ causing wetter weather are hindcasts. Julia Slingo’s forecast was for cold and dry being consistent with ‘Climate Change’. It was this claim that was used to justify flooding an area of the Somerset Levels prior to the rain to maintain them as wetlands in the ‘forecast drought’.


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