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State of the UK Climate Report

September 24, 2015

By Paul Homewood 




The Met Office have just published their UK State of the Climate Report for 2014, (no, I did not know they had one either!)


I’ll be looking at it in more detail later, but one statement that needs clarifying now is their claim that 7 of the 10 wettest years for the UK have occurred since 1998.




While this is true, it does not tell the whole story. As we already know, the longer running England & Wales series shows that other periods since 1766 have been just as wet.

Below is the chart of the top 25 wettest years, which should give a rough equivalence in terms of frequency to the top 10 since 1910.




Since 1998, there have been five years in the top rank, clearly much more than would be expected. However, there are other such wet periods, such as 1782-99 and 1848-82, which recorded 5 and 6 wettest years respectively.

In terms of the top 10, 2000 and 2012 appear in the list, but so do 1848, 1852, 1872, 1877 and 1882.

In a way, all of these are merely weather events, which have happened before and will happen again. The question is when do they become a trend? It is surely not possible to draw any such conclusions based on such a small number of events.

Indeed, this is precisely the conclusion that the Met Office come to when they say:


In the past few decades there has been an increase in annual average rainfall over the UK, particularly over Scotland. However, the trend is less clear from longer term records of rainfall over England and Wales since 1766.


Having said all of that, what we do appear to be seeing is a definite increasing trend in rainfall in Scotland since the mid 20thC. In contrast, trends are pretty much flat in the rest of the UK.






  1. September 24, 2015 11:41 am

    I suspect that this will be similar in tone to the one produced annually by the American Meteorological Society, sceptics with high blood pressure should seek medical advice before reading:

  2. NeilC permalink
    September 24, 2015 4:16 pm

    The trouble with all these types of reports is they never put things in real perspective.

    We have been measuring weather for a such short amount of time (350 yeras) with respect to how long weather has been in existence in the Earth atmosphere (4.5bn years).

    All these records of this and that, are relatively meaningless. The trends we do have are of some interest but certainly don’t paint a full picture.

    As you quite rightly say, many of these are weather events, not states of the climate.

  3. MikeH permalink
    September 25, 2015 11:25 am

    When they say”annual” it suggests they working December to December.
    Surely it would be more relevant and interesting to look at each winter period as a whole?

  4. September 25, 2015 2:33 pm

    I’ve tended to avoid the temperature arguments up to now as others like Paul do them so thoroughly. However, I read one of the Met office links that explained the changes in data collection in a paper called “A comparison of screen temperatures as measured by two Met office observing systems” by Clark, Lee and Legg.

    In summary, in 2009 the Met office replaced SAMOS with MMS for data acquisition. The older system was operated at the local station while in the new system the data goes to the Met office directly.

    The same Pt resistance probes are used in each system but the new system indicates temperatures that are typically 0.2 – 0.3 deg K higher than the manual system and often the difference was 0.8 deg K higher.

    According to the paper these differences are small enough to be insignificant (in practical terms probably true), however there has to be a good reason for the differences; either they have a data “humangenising” algorithm like NOAA or they are technically incompetent in their data acquisition.

    Also, the new system apparently samples every minute, while the old system was hourly. This may explain the infamous Heathrow temperature; it also invalidates comparisons.

    Again to prevent us independent deniers from reading their work, they impose a fee of $ 38 for access to work paid for by our taxes.


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