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“Natural Variability Was The Dominant Cause Of Recent Winter Floods”– Met Office

December 15, 2017

By Paul Homewood

 

 

Residents use a boat make their way through floodwater that has cut off their homes on February 11, 2014 in Chertsey. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

 

I mentioned this in a post yesterday, but it is worth highlighting.

Last year, the Met Office published a report into UK flood resilience, which estimated the potential likelihood and severity of record-breaking rainfall over the UK for the next 10 years.

The Met Office press release is here. It states:

The flooding in 2013/14 and again in late 2015 was driven by large-scale frontal rainfall, a weather pattern that is often associated with river flooding and typically seen in the UK during winter months. The focus of our work was therefore on looking for synoptic weather patterns that give rise to large accumulations of rainfall that are likely to drive high river flows and flooding.

We also assessed whether climate change has played a clear role in recent rainfall and flooding events and concluded that natural variability is by far the dominant cause and will continue to be so for the next 10 years.

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2016/national-flood-resilience-review

 

To re-emphasise, they found that natural variability was by far the dominant cause. Any claimed effect from global warming was at most minor.

In theory, a warmer atmosphere should be able to hold more water vapour. According to the IPCC, atmospheric water vapour over the oceans is estimated to have increased by 5% over the 20thC.

The 2013/14  winter rainfall in England amounted to 401mm, so even if all of the extra moisture translated into extra rainfall, the extra rain would only have been about 20mm.

Put another way, that winter would still have been extremely wet anyway.

At the time, the floods of both 2013/14 and 2015 attracted the usual “blame it on climate change” hype. David Cameron, for instance, stood up in Parliament and said that he suspected it must be linked to climate change.

And climate scientists who should know better, such as Corrine Le Quere, were also happy to jump on the bandwagon.

Now we know that they were just natural weather events after all.

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16 Comments
  1. December 15, 2017 2:01 pm

    Yes that was my take as well.
    Details here
    https://ssrn.com/abstract=2929159

  2. December 15, 2017 2:12 pm

    ‘estimated the potential likelihood and severity of record-breaking rainfall over the UK for the next 10 years’

    Give us a break, MetO. This is just pseudo-scientific crystal-ball gazing.

  3. Dung permalink
    December 15, 2017 2:34 pm

    Being totally honest: NO we do not know now that they were just natural weather events because we do not yet have the knowledge required to say that. One day for sure we will have learned enough but until then we should just deal with the weather we get.

    • Ian Magness permalink
      December 15, 2017 5:00 pm

      I hate to disagree Dung but it is not for us deniers to prove anything. The null hypothesis in this case has to be that the floods were normal and there is ample evidence of that exhibited on this website along. It is up to the warmistas to prove the null hypothesis wrong with hard evidence that they gather. They have totally failed to do that to date – models don’t count any more that green hyperbole and hysterical reporting by the BBC. The null hypothesis must stand until disproven. Only then should alternative hypotheses be analysed.

      • Ian Magness permalink
        December 15, 2017 5:02 pm

        “alone” “not along”

      • Dung permalink
        December 15, 2017 9:38 pm

        Not true 🙂
        If you can not totally explain an event then you are not able to rule any cause of that event.
        Obviously I do agree with your opinion.

      • Dung permalink
        December 15, 2017 9:39 pm

        rule out not rule

      • Gamecock permalink
        December 17, 2017 3:43 pm

        Agreed, Dung. We simply don’t know.

        ‘To re-emphasise, they found that natural variability was by far the dominant cause. Any claimed effect from global warming was at most minor.’

        Surely this is true, but the implication – that we know – is false.

  4. HotScot permalink
    December 15, 2017 2:50 pm

    It’s a shame the propaganda damage has already been done.

    I don’t expect the BBC will be reporting this any time soon.

  5. Michael Hutton permalink
    December 15, 2017 4:05 pm

    DEFRA must take some responsibility for the floods for not maintaining. And cleaning our rivers

  6. Tom O permalink
    December 15, 2017 5:10 pm

    Apparently this statement says different things to different people –

    “We also assessed whether climate change has played a clear role in recent rainfall and flooding events and concluded that natural variability is by far the dominant cause and will continue to be so for the next 10 years”.

    To me, “by far the dominant cause” is saying “but AGW had something to do with it too,” which is nearly equivalent to “but CO2 made it worse.” Not much changes amongst the true climate deniers – those that deny that man might marginally affect the climate through the way he affects the ecology, but that is all.

    • December 15, 2017 8:45 pm

      There is no evidence that CO2 made anything worse. It is all based on theory.

      And there is plenty of theory that suggests the opposite. For instance, the reduced temperature differential between the Arctic and temperate zones should lead to reduced storm potential. There is nothing new about this, as even HH Lamb wrote about it 50 yrs ago.

      You really should not confuse theoretical models witn actual observations, which do not bear out the “CO2 makes it worse” assumption

      • dave permalink
        December 16, 2017 9:41 am

        “In theory a warmer atmosphere should be able to hold more water vapour.”

        No. This is COMPLETELY wrong. The vapour pressure above a liquid in defined circumstances depends on the temperature of the liquid at the surface AND ON NOTHING ELSE AT ALL.

        Now, IN the atmosphere there might be droplets of water in clouds. If the air warms and some water droplets disappear that is because the water droplets themselves have been warmed. This is at another – a completely different – interface from that between the air and the sea. The bit of atmosphere which has been warmed will now be out of balance (if it was saturated) as regards contained [sic : not ‘held’ which is utterly MEANINGLESS] water vapour with any open water below and all that extra water vapour from the evaporated water droplets will go into there, given a little time to reestablish equilibrium.

        A correct statement would be that a significantly warmer world ocean surface would tend to increase the water vapour in the atmosphere. Since the upper ocean is warming at a rate of perhaps 1/200 th Degree C per year this is practically an unmeasurable effect.

  7. mikewaite permalink
    December 16, 2017 9:03 am

    It seems that there is some hope for the integrity of the Met Office . Too often in the past , under Slingo’s leadership it seemed to be very keen on relating every change in the weather to the influence of CO2 caused by fossil fuels , to the delight of course of the BBC , politicians and the renewables’ entrepreneurs .
    It occurred to many of us I am sure that the Met Office were gradually painting themselves into a corner by denying natural variability . We are moving to a situation where we as a nation will be mainly dependent on renewables , wind and solar , which are themselves at the mercy of the weather .
    In the future some very powerful people , with huge sums of money at stake , will need reliable forecasts of sun and wind.Those forecasts had better be correct , taking into account natural variability and not politically biassed “models” or corporations might lose a large amount of revenue.if not correctly forewarned. They will not be pleased.

  8. December 16, 2017 2:08 pm

    “Natural variability,” another name for weather. Who knew?

  9. December 17, 2017 9:51 pm

    The MetO “concluded that natural variability is by far the dominant cause and will continue to be so for the next 10 years.”
    So what ?
    … just cos they have an opinion, it doesn’t make it true either way.
    Show me something other than opinions , and then I can start to pick it apart.

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