Met Office Data Shows Storm Desmond’s Rainfall Was Not “Record Breaking”
By Paul Homewood
I’ve just received some more data from the Met Office about Storm Desmond, which I asked for last month.
They have confirmed rainfall at Seathwaite of 122 and 112mm on the the 4th and 5th of December respectively, the days when most of the rain fell. We may recall that a 24-hour record of 341mm is claimed to have been at Honister Pass up to 6.00pm on the 5th.
If we plug in the Seathwaite numbers, along with the other data supplied by the Met Office at the time showing the highest 48-hour totals, we can compare Desmond with the storm in November 1898.
Just to recall :
Seathwaite is higher up than the other sites, and therefore tends to get more rain. Indeed, it is reckoned to be the wettest inhabited place in England. The other sites all down at lake level.
It is apparent from the comparison of 1898 and 2015, that there was very little difference in rainfall.
We can also make comparisons with November 1897:
The above table is from the British Rainfall Publication, which does not give information on the day before or after. Nevertheless, the 8.03 inch (204 mm) recorded at Seathwaite certainly suggests much more intense rainfall than seen last month, as do the measurements at Ambleside.
The rainfall during Storm Desmond has, of course, been repeatedly described as “record breaking”, but this has been purely on the basis of the 24-hour reading at Honister Pass. This is a high altitude site, run by the Environment Agency, who have confirmed to me that they have only been collecting daily data there since 1992.
Weather Station, Honister
We now have many automatic weather stations set up in mountainous areas where rainfall is inevitably much heavier. But just because we now have measurements from them does not mean that rainfall is becoming more extreme.