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The Wet Autumn Of 2000

February 4, 2017

By Paul Homewood




The wet autumn of 2000 in the UK was remarkable by any measure. Along with the heatwave in 2003, it is often wheeled out as an example of extreme weather brought about by global warming.

Inevitably the climate science industry jumped on board claiming that global warming had made the event more likely.

The BBC’s Paul Hudson described it as a 1 in 500 year occurrence, and claimed that it was the wettest 3-month period on record.

The only problem was – it was not. The period of October to December 1929 was in fact much wetter in the UK. [See Notes]

If we compare month by month, we can see that rainfall was unusually low in September 1929, but increased rapidly in the following months.





Of course, the dry September in 1929 meant that autumn rainfall in total that year was not unusually high. In fact it was only the 18th wettest autumn since 1910. But this is highly misleading, as the numbers below show:


  1929/30 2000/01
Sep 46.8 130.4
Oct 152.0 194.8
Nov 188.0 172.7
Dec 213.0 152.6
Jan 153.0 79.4
Oct – Dec 553.0 520.1
Oct 1929 to
Jan 1930
Sep 2000 to
Dec 2000

Rainfall mm


The wettest 3-month period in 2000 was not actually Sep-Dec, as Paul Hudson wrongly stated. It was actually October to December, and we can see that the same period in 1929 recorded 553.0mm of rain, compared to 520.1mm in 2000.

Even more significantly, the extreme level of rainfall persisted for 4 months in 1929/30, with January 1930 also being very wet.

Taking the peak 4-month totals for the two years, we get 706.0mm from October 1929-January 1930, compared with 650.5mm between September and December 2000.

Clearly the 1929/30 event was much more extreme than that of 2000, whichever way you look at it. If autumn 2000 really was a 1 in 500 year event, heaven knows what that makes 1929/30.

Of course, it does not literally mean it was an event that only happens once every 500 years. Simply that the probability is that.

But whoever came up with that calculation, I would suggest there is something very wrong with their models if we have had two such events in the 20thC alone.




To be fair, with regard to Paul Hudson’s claim that it was the wettest 3-month period since records began, he may be referring to the England & Wales Precipitation series, which shows that the rainfall in autumn 2000 was actually 2mm greater than Oct – Dec 1929.

However, his article is specifically about the UK, and not to have even mentioned 1929 suggests either:

a) He was not aware that it was wetter then – which would imply gross incompetence.


b) He was deliberately and deceitfully attempting to cover up the fact that an event of similar magnitude had occurred 71 years before.

  1. martinbrumby permalink
    February 4, 2017 3:28 pm

    In fairness to Paul, he’s about the only one in the dreaded MET who hasn’t totally lost touch with reality! He’s even a bit sceptical at times!
    Hope that hasn’t got him into trouble with the MET enforcers!

  2. February 4, 2017 4:01 pm

    The UK probably has one of the least extreme climates of any heavily populated area, but if the Met Office wants to hunt for contrived statistics in periods with fixed boundaries (simple randomness, coupled with a very large set of possible fixed boundaries, gives a high chance of some sort of record being set somewhere) the response should be: OMG, the UK should spend all its Climate Change money on adaptation, not on King Canute attempts to change the weather.

  3. Eric Hutchinson permalink
    February 4, 2017 4:16 pm

    When the “talkers down” get talking down, they talk down almost everything. Our economy should be in total meltdown by now and we should all be knee deep in sea water. When will the pessimists stop ruling the earth? Talk up! for the sake of the future. UK can do nothing to mitigate any alleged climate interference by CO2 reduction. We are tiny players on the world scene of mess producers, despite being economic big players. Yet our power costs rise daily because of the increased group think that windmills are good and the disturbingly large impact that solar non.power is having on our green and pleasant land is beneficial.
    Meanwhile we all pay. My new diesel car is now an enemy of the environment while European deisel lorries rattle around our motorways freely and most of our cross country trains churn out NO2 by the bucketload. How, I ask, is the new surplus of electricity required by our new generation of “clean” cars to be produced. Not,I hope, by diesel generators!

  4. tom0mason permalink
    February 5, 2017 7:04 am

    Off-topic but…

    In the Mail on Sunday — David Rose reports that Dr. John J Bates has revealed a host of questionable practices committed by NOAA scientists as they rushed through the ‘Pausebuster’ paper.

    “Dr John Bates’s disclosures about the manipulation of data behind the ‘Pausebuster’ paper is the biggest scientific scandal since ‘Climategate’ in 2009 when, as this paper reported, thousands of leaked emails revealed scientists were trying to block access to data, and using a ‘trick’ to conceal embarrassing flaws in their claims about global warming.”

  5. NeilC permalink
    February 5, 2017 11:51 am

    I was on the understanding the WMO have defined periods for the seasons. MAM – spring, JJA – summer, SON – autumn and DJF – winter in the Northern hemisphere.

    Of course there are sometimes going to be 3 month periods, spanning different seasons, which may break records. The UKMO report was talking about the Autumn season and the BBC as usual don’t understand science boundaries.

    And, Paul, as you rightly point out, even then the BBC get it wrong.

  6. February 6, 2017 6:27 pm

    Almost everything these days from the MET and BBC has to be regarded as propaganda or disinformation. Could this be an attempt to create context for the front cover of Chazza’s book and it’s, no doubt unsupported, assertions?

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