Slingo Fails To Answer The Real Questions
By Paul Homewood
A predictably lame response from the Met Office about Storm Desmond. There is the usual arm waving about climate change, but it fails to address several more relevant issues:
1) How reliable are the supposed “records”? We already know that Honister only has a short period of record. What about Thirlmere?
2) There is talk of warm waters in the western Atlantic, but no mention of much colder than normal waters in the Northern part of the Atlantic, which certainly played a role.
3) Slingo correctly claims that their 3-monthly outlooks anticipated a stormy start to the winter. This was specifically related to the warm/cold gradient. So why no mention of this factor now?
4) As usual, Slingo goes on to talk about “fundamental physics”, but fails to quantify just how much extra rainfall this should in theory cause.
Theoretical studies suggest that the most we would be talking of is a few millimeters.
5) The underlying cause of the Cumbrian flooding has been the position of the jet stream, which has brought a succession of depressions towards the North West, including Desmond.
It is not acceptable for the Met Office’s Chief Scientist to fail to offer any explanation, or even thoughts, on why this should be. As far as meteorological matters are concerned, Sligo appears to be clearly out of her depth.
6) In particular, where is the relating of this storm to the many others in the past which have hit this part of the country?
7) Finally, we know that the storm in November 1898 brought very similar 24-hour rainfall totals to lower lying sites in the Lake District as Desmond. In those days, there were no rainfall gauges at higher altitude sites, such as Honister, so we simply don’t know whether it really was any wetter this time.
In the 1898 storm, it appears that most of the rain fell in about 16 hours, in turn suggesting an even more intense period of rain. Note that the 48-hour record for Thirlmere is said to have fallen over 38 hours. This indicates that it was the amount of time, during which the weather front was sat over the Lake District, that was the key factor last weekend.
Excerpt from Symon’s British Rainfall 1898