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Wettest December? Not According To The England & Wales Series

January 6, 2016

By Paul Homewood 









Only one slight problem! The Met Office have a much longer running record, the England & Wales Precipitation Series, which goes back to 1766, and this shows that last month was nowhere near being the record wettest.   According to that, the wettest December was in 1876.


Furthermore, last month only ranks as the 20th wettest December.




The claim that extremely wet winters are becoming more common does not stand up either. Whilst three of the last four Decembers appear in the Top 20 list, this sort of clustering is very common, eg:









Of course, it has still been exceptionally wet, and often one part of the country gets particularly targeted. Last month it was the North West.

In 1876, it was the the southern half of England, which was particularly badly hit:





Obviously the amounts of rain which fell last month are by no means “unprecedented”.

Of course, the 1766 Series does not include Scotland or N. Ireland, and we have no means of knowing whether they were wetter in 1876, as no figures are available.

We do know, however, that last month was not as wet as December 1919 in N. Ireland, so the most that can be claimed is that it was a record for Scotland.

But, of course, it is in England where most of the flooding problems have occurred.


The BBC quote the Met Office’s Prof Adam Scaife as saying “Warmer air can hold more moisture, and we expect winters to become warmer and wetter with climate change”. This claim clearly is not supported by the evidence from the England & Wales Series.

Prof Myles Allen, from Oxford’s department of atmospheric physics, goes one step further:

"There is no such thing as a new normal with climate change.

"Climate change is not a transition to a new normal. It’s a trend. Decembers like this will be what we expect in a couple of decades’ time."

What? Just like they expected in the 1910’s?


All of this leaves one question. Why did the Met Office rush to declare “wettest evah”, when they knew the England & Wales Series would say something totally different?

  1. January 6, 2016 5:18 pm

    The trouble is, the scientists are falling into the classic “confirmation bias” trap of believing that the weather we are experiencing now, is worse, because it is freshest in the collective memory. Also it is reported on more now, than it ever was.

    • January 7, 2016 10:00 pm

      I call this the Law of Perspective. The closer you are to something, the bigger it seems. Applies to objects, as well as weather…

  2. January 6, 2016 5:24 pm

    Thanks, Paul. As always with data, the more, the merrier!
    You ask:
    “All of this leaves one question. Why did the Met Office rush to declare “wettest evah”, when they knew the England & Wales Series would say something totally different?”
    I think they are counting on a lot of people not knowing that it wasn’t. 😉

  3. January 6, 2016 5:40 pm

    “Why did the Met Office rush to declare “wettest evah”, when they knew the England & Wales Series would say something totally different?”

    The answer is very simple. Those who are paid to report and forecast the weather and climate receive more funding from a public scared that weather/climate are getting worse and we better do something about it and that message is pushed through the political system. One way to counter this trend is to educate the masses about the true realities of weather and climate. To that end, you and others like WUWT have done a good job. Keep up the good work.

    It seems that at least some of the public is finally beginning to get more skeptical about the never ending news of current “unprecedented” catastrophes and impending doom unless we shoot ourselves in the foot to reduce CO2 levels (or perhaps shoot ourselves in both feet?). As the pain from the actions taken gets worse (higher energy costs), the tide will likely turn and the grand hoax will collapse, hopefully before too long.

  4. xmetman permalink
    January 6, 2016 6:13 pm

    Hi Paul

    You beat me to it again.

    I made it 20th wettest December in the EWP series, and even in the daily UKP series (which started in 1931) it’s only the wettest in 2 out of the 8 sub-regions.


    • David Richardson permalink
      January 6, 2016 7:45 pm

      Good point Anoneumouse – malfeasance in public office has been raised before which I assume you are driving at?

  5. skeptik permalink
    January 6, 2016 7:27 pm

    This nonsense is the same as “god was angry with us” of the medieval times (and later) and bears a striking similarity to reports in the first newspapers except these days it’s CO2 that did it…

  6. Raff permalink
    January 6, 2016 10:36 pm

    If they had meant just England and Wales, they would probably have said that. It was the wettest December for the whole UK.

    • January 6, 2016 10:57 pm

      Only since 1910. And only in Scotland.

      So why not tell the truth and admit that it has been much wetter in England & Wales in the past, and probably in Scotland too, except they don’t have any numbers from before 1910?

      Could it be because they have something to hide?

  7. January 6, 2016 10:59 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  8. Rico L permalink
    January 6, 2016 11:21 pm

    People are already becoming immune to the “xxxx ever” reports. Some are just over the top and obviously pointless. Soon enough it will be the hottest 11am on a Tuesday ever, or the wettest 3am on a Friday ever….. The media will need to change tact soon and find another fashionable phrase to continue scaring and selling.

  9. Stonyground permalink
    January 7, 2016 7:43 am

    As soon as I heard this ‘wettest since records began in 1910’ on the radio my bullshit alarm started buzzing. But if records actually go back to 1766 then saying that records began in 1910 is a flat out lie. Where did it originate? Why is there not a single journalist thinking, hang on that doesn’t sound right I think that I might do my job for once and check?

  10. miket permalink
    January 7, 2016 8:37 pm


    Not sure from the above article and comments whether it is clear that the BBC has carefully provided misinformation in recent days – claiming, repeatedly, December as wettest December since ‘Records began’ – when, in fact, the Met Office itself has said that it was only the 2nd wettest for the UK as a whole (1929 higher). {Matt Ridley in the Times on Monday, quoted on Biased BBC}:

  11. January 7, 2016 11:44 pm

    The MO has a habit of issuing “provisional” rainfall figures, before the end of the period in question.
    When I asked them why they do it, they said it was, in effect, to avoid confusion!


  1. Wettest December? Not According To The England & Wales Series | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)
  2. Met Office’s ‘Wettest Ever’ Claim Fails Again | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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