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Record Rainfall In NE Scotland–Back In August 1829!

April 26, 2017

By Paul Homewood


January 2016 Rainfall 1981 - 2010 anomaly


January 2016 was an exceptionally wet month by any standards in the north east of Scotland.

Met Office data shows rainfall there that month of 266mm, more than double the long term average of 125mm.

While this was a record for any January, on records since 1910, how unusual is it for rainfall to be so much above average?

Perhaps not as unusual as you may think.

According to HH Lamb, rainfall in the same region was 2.5 times the long term average in August 1829:


matt d licence front

HH Lamb: Climate, History and the Modern World – p251


Once in a while, Mother Nature comes along and reminds us who’s in charge.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    April 26, 2017 9:19 am

    I would go further than that Paul – significant variations from the mean are absolutely the norm in British weather.
    I plotted the long term monthly rainfall figures for east Surrey (where I live) a few years back. What was interesting was that the outcomes tended to bunch nowhere near the mean for any month. In fact, it was far more normal for a month to show figures like 40% or 50% less, or more, than the average, than it was for the outcome to be close to the long term average. You ended up with a dumb-bell shaped distribution and an outcome where the rainfall matched the long term average was rare. Further, figures like 100% above or below average are not rare. Witness April rainfall. There is much talk at the moment that south east rainfall was almost zero from, say, mid-March to mid-April. Shock!
    You only need look back to 2011 and 2012, however, to illustrate the British weather issues. In April 2011, east Surrey received effectively no rainfall (1mm) and crops on some well-drained sites actually failed. In April 2012, however, it pretty much never stopped raining and we ended up with 127mm! And all this in Surrey where we are not exactly known for weather extremes.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 26, 2017 12:45 pm

      With you there on Surrey. Nothing of note for weeks. But hopefully the Met Office will come to our rescue with a barbecue summer forecast or a drought warning that will see the heavens open.

  2. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 26, 2017 9:53 am

    it is MAN made Climate Disruption as hypothesised by many green Climatologists.
    Why it happened the hypothesis cannot explain.
    Why it happened in the past the hypothesis cannot explain.
    Why they didn’t forecast it before it was happening the hypothesis cannot explain.
    When it could happen in the future the hypothesis cannot explain.
    What effect it will have the hypothesis cannot explain.
    The only thing the hypothesis can explain is why it was publicised by the media.

  3. Gerry, England permalink
    April 26, 2017 12:48 pm

    I wonder how far back the records really go for Scotland? In England and Wales, the 1910 is an arbitrary cutoff for digitized data. The real records go back further and – now I know you will be stunned – include instances of heavier rainfall than anything since 1910. Very inconvenient if you are claiming ‘unprecedented’ ‘most since records began’.

    • Ian Magness permalink
      April 26, 2017 3:16 pm

      Yes, Gerry,
      The 127mm 2012 rainfall was stated as the heaviest “EVAH!!!”
      However, it turns out that, as you indicate, those records only go back to 1910.

  4. April 26, 2017 1:51 pm

    I suspect one of the problems for claims made by the AGW mob is the unstated and probably unconscious assumption that statistical inference may be made on the basis of the Normal Distribution. If data are normally distributed then it is true, as they aver, that ‘extreme’ events, i.e. those events distant from the mean, are indeed, very highly improbable. However weather data may well be long tailed, just like returns data are in finance: in which case, extreme weather events are much more probable than might be inferred. Mandelbrot has an example in one of his books, of a dam that was built by the British in Egypt which took account of the long-tailedness of flood water and allowed for extreme events. If it had been based on the Normal Distribution, it would have failed.

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