December Rainfall Trends In The UK
By Paul Homewood
There are many climate myths, one of which is that winter rainfall is becoming more extreme in the UK.
We’ve now got the December data from the Met Office for the long running England & Wales Precipitation Series, so we can look at the latest trends:
December 2016 was one of the driest on record since 1766, ranking 31st driest.
As we are all no doubt aware, we have had some notably wet Decembers in recent years, particularly 2012. Even that month, however, was only the 7th wettest. Top ranking goes to December 1876.
If we isolate the top 50 wettest months, we can see that rainfall was not as extreme up to the 1860s.
The period from 1909-19 had seven of the top 50 months, something no other such period experienced. On top of that, 1914 and 1915 saw two of the four wettest Decembers.
We can also analyse daily rainfall, but unfortunately this series only begins in 1931, so we miss out on those exceptionally wet Decembers in earlier years.
Nevertheless, we find that by far the wettest December day was 3rd December 1960:
There is nothing to suggest that extreme daily rainfall in December is becoming more frequent, or more intense.
The Met Office Monthly Weather Report for December 1960 rather matter of factly commented:
Nowadays they’d wheel on Julia Slingo to tell us it was all due to CO2!