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Is English Summer Rain Getting More Extreme?

September 10, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


How many times do we hear claims that extreme weather has been increasing because of global warming?

In terms of precipitation, this can take the form of both excessive rainfall and drought.

Let’s then take a look at summer rainfall in England & Wales, to see if there is any truth in such claims here.



We can plot the differences between actual and mean for the England & Wales Precipitation series since 1766. It would appear that wet summers predominated in the 19thC, but less so since.



Figure 1


But what is particularly interesting is when we remove the negative signs. Figure 2 simply shows all variations from mean as a positive number:



Figure 2


We can see that the biggest variations were in 1829, 1879 and 1912 (all wet summers). Of more interest though is the 10-year average, which shows that recent variability in summer rainfall has been pretty average.

Indeed, the current 10-year average is 46.1mm, which compares to the long term series average of 48.7mm.


As far as England & Wales is concerned, summer rainfall is not getting more extreme.




England & Wales Precipitation Series

  1. September 11, 2016 8:17 am

    Climate paranoia and propaganda are getting more extreme – extremely silly that is.

  2. tom0mason permalink
    September 11, 2016 8:55 am

    Sure can get wet some days …
    Monday 18 July 1955 Upwey in Dorset UK it rained a bit back then …

  3. Sara Hall permalink
    September 11, 2016 9:25 am

    Too many folk seem to have either short or selective memories when it comes to our weather. A slightly unusual event gets labelled as an extreme by the media (when it is nothing of the sort) & then somehow becomes established as fact.
    Not nearly enough of us can be bothered to look at the records, so thank goodness for blogs like yours Paul where we can get the facts presented clearly and simply.
    In my small corner of the world, I well remember a few specific past weather events such as June 1991 and August 1992 being complete washouts, with rainfall around double the Guernsey average. I checked the records at Guernsey Airport Met office and I was right. So the wet August here was simply a repeat of 1992, though maybe slightly less windy.

    30 years of the Guernsey Met office annual records are available for free download and make interesting reading, particularly as our weather comes in mainly straight off the Atlantic Ocean.

  4. September 11, 2016 1:30 pm

    The BBC has a report of a study in the Lake district.

    ‘The team hopes to publish its full paleoflood analysis shortly, but from the preview given at this year’s European Geosciences Union meeting it is clear we are living in extraordinary times.

    Two-thirds of the biggest floods in the Bassenthwaite sediment record have occurred in the past 20 years.

    Nothing like them has been seen since the first Queen Elizabeth was on the throne.

    “The people living in the Lake District today are very aware that they’re experiencing a flood-rich period, and the last 20 years contains some of the largest flood events – 2009, 2005, 2015 and 1995 in order of severity,” Prof Chiverrell told BBC News.’

    But when Queen Elizabeth was on the throne there obviously wasn’t very much oil, gas, or coal burning going on – so that can’t be the problem 😉

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