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Telegraph Propagates Extreme Weather Nonsense Again!

March 26, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Green Sand


Even by Telegraph standards, this is a truly dreadful piece by Ashley Kirk, another of their new breed of wet behind the ears journalists.



It would appear to have been written with the help of Lord Deben, and makes the usual series of comments about how our extreme weather is getting so much worse, because of “climate change”.

The first paragraph rather says it all:

The UK is set to be hit by a vicious combination of extreme storms, intense downpours and rising sea levels as it faces the next century.


Let’s look at some of the claims:


 1) Seven of our 10 wettest years have occurred since 1998. 2013 had the UK’s wettest winter in history, and it was followed just two years later by the next wettest

UK Rainfall - Annual

This is true of the UK as a whole, but is solely because rainfall has been increasing in Scotland (as a result of storm tracks tending to shift poleward).

We get a totally different picture when we look at England and Wales separately.

Scotland Rainfall - Annual

England Rainfall - Annual

Wales Rainfall - Annual


This is not some academic point, as the article goes on to great lengths to describe flooding problems in England.

And, of course, we also have a data set that goes back much further to 1766, the England & Wales Precipitation Series. This tells us that annual rainfall has changed little over the years, and certainly is not becoming more extreme:




2) Storm Desmond broke a new record for national rainfall accumulation in a 24-hour period, dropping 34cm of rain at Honister Pass in Cumbria in the 24 hours after 6.30pm on 4 December 2015.

As I revealed at the time, the rain gauge at Honister is at an altitude of about 1200 ft in the Lake District, where rainfall amounts will invariably be much higher than in the valleys.

Crucially, the gauge has only been collecting daily data since 1992, making any claims of a “record” meaningless.

3) Met Office scientists have said that, by the end of the century, climate change will lead to drier summers that have intense, heavier downpours – carrying a risk of flash flooding.

I looked at this claim a month ago, and found that the actual record showed the opposite was true.


4) Winters will be wetter, with the potential for higher daily rainfall. This is because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which in turn leads to intensified rainfall.

There is no evidence of this in the actual record:


While the winter of 2013/14 is the wettest on record, we know that Nov 1929 to Jan 1930 was actually much wetter, 500mm v 455mm. Both were nothing more than weather events.

5) The Met Office’s latest exercises concluded that, in any winter, there is a one in 10 chance of existing monthly rainfall records being matched or broken in any of the UK’s regions.

There are ten such regions, meaning that there are 30 such monthly records to be broke. Given that records only date back to 1910, the arithmetical odds would be about 1-in-4.

The Met Office’s analysis is based on models. If they are right, monthly records will become less common!

6) Rising seas add to the problem. The Government’s flooding review said that the UK will likely face a further 11-16cm of sea level rise by 2030, relative to 1990.

 Sea levels around the UK have been steadily rising since the 19thC. North Shields is typical of the east coast, which faces most problems, rising by 1.91mm/year:


Far from accelerating, the rate of rise has fallen considerably since the early 20thC:


PSMSL data confirms that sea levels there have risen by 1.42mm/yr since 1990, a third of the government’s projected rise.

Final Thoughts

Flooding has been with us since time immemorial, and it is right that we continue to take action to mitigate it.

The article, to be fair, does cover this aspect in some detail.

But if Telegraph journalists want to bring climate change in to the debate, perhaps they should check their facts with people who know about these matters, rather than take the word of John Gummer.

  1. March 26, 2018 2:24 pm

    Event Attribution Science isn’t really science

  2. March 26, 2018 2:27 pm

    “By the end of the century” is a massive clue about the barrels being scraped to get something out of very little.

    The real stories of changing precipitation are in the heavily populated areas with a Mediterranean climate, such as Cape Town and Perth (Australia), which may be in a natural variability low in rainfall. Scaring people about having a bit more rainfall is pretty despicable.

  3. March 26, 2018 2:42 pm

    Why does the Telegraph employ Grauniad reporters?

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      March 26, 2018 6:39 pm

      Because they are too moronic even for the “Graundan”.

  4. March 26, 2018 3:33 pm

    Re-stating the obvious, but as more properties continue to have been and continue to get built in flood-prone areas, the worse the flooding stats will get as a logical result.

    Then a wavy jetstream comes along with its ‘extreme weather’ and the rest we know.

    • duker permalink
      March 27, 2018 6:50 pm

      The intensification of land use/clearing forest etc higher up in catchments can also mean the little town downstream that has hardly changed will get higher flood levels too.

  5. Up2snuff permalink
    March 26, 2018 4:01 pm

    But this is good news, right?

    I remember mentalenviros and alarmists warning that we would run out of water in the second decade of the 21st century and all shrivel and die.

  6. Colin permalink
    March 26, 2018 4:33 pm

    What interests me is that the bit of the UK that accounts for this damp trend hasn’t suffered notably from extra flooding whearas England which shows no trend has had some fairly notable inundations.
    In fact the wettest parts of Scotland rarely suffer damaging floods, we don’t have much floodplain geography anyway, we know rain and tend not to build in flood vulnerable areas.
    If you want to reduce flood damage in England maybe stop importing a million new bodies each year, they have to live somewhere, hence the pressure to build on floodplains.
    Unfortunately the government would rather blame spurious weather trends than do something useful about these problems.

    • duker permalink
      March 27, 2018 7:02 pm

      When I used to do this for a job in another country, even building a house in a rural area meant you had to add extra planting to ensure ‘hydrological neutrality’, which meant that paved or roofed areas which speed up runoff were matched with increased areas of low planting which slowed it down. As well you could add roof runoff water tanks with a small outlet diameter hole so the water going to streams didnt rapidly increase in volume but was steady for a longer time. There are many other types of retention depending on the scale of the development.
      Development issues are totally solvable and a better approach than ‘complaining about the weather’

  7. Rowland H permalink
    March 26, 2018 4:37 pm

    No mention, of course, of the ever growing problems of lack of watercourse maintenance which used to be carried out as a matter of course (pardon the pun).

  8. Bitter@twisted permalink
    March 26, 2018 6:37 pm

    There is a new paper out on the lack of association of sea level rise and climate change.
    Go over to “Notrickszone” to find out.
    Bangs a few more nails into the AGW coffin.

  9. March 26, 2018 7:18 pm

    I reckon it’s entirely possible to get a bit bomb happy with all these climate proclaiming twerps spouting their rubbish essentially unchallenged in the MSM.

    I dunno why but this made me think of an episode back in 2013 – from the NALOPKT archives:

    The Wrong Type of Rain – with predictable attribution from a sinecured twerp of the first rank.

  10. Chris Lynch permalink
    March 26, 2018 9:42 pm

    Ever since Christopher Booker was relegated to a back page in a supplement of the Sunday Telegraph the CAGW narrative drones have become bolder and bolder in the Telegraph papers.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      March 27, 2018 12:46 pm

      Disagree with the Telegraph ultra-Brexit stance at your peril it would seem.

  11. March 26, 2018 10:44 pm

    I think I have been given a whiff of a fresh renewable energy scandal in Northern Ireland involving the NHS.

    This time it’s a solar scam by the look of it…

    Does anybody know anything about this?

    A pal of mine was looking at it (and scratching his head…) so he followed up and was met with a fair bit of aggressive evasiveness.

    • Bitter@twisted permalink
      March 27, 2018 7:17 am

      Some very bold claims by Powerhone about their nanotechnology.
      Unbelievable in fact.
      More sniffing is required.

      • Up2snuff permalink
        March 29, 2018 10:43 am

        Indeed. On a rainy day? Depends on the type of rainy day, I assume. Raining from wind driven small patchy clouds with frequent sunny periods.

        I suspect that this is a sophisticated pipe and bladder system (using the ‘nano’ technology of new fabrics and the colouration possibilities) to warm and store water from black ‘containers’.

        I remember seeing in 1990 Austrian apartment blocks with flat roofs covered by black coiled hosepipe. These were connected to the cold water supply and boosting the hot water reserve (as well as reducing the energy needed and cost thereof) for warmth and washing. It certainly does work.

        Witness the warmth of content of a garden watering can, filled with cold water and left in the sunshine for as long as possible. Transfer it to a greenhouse or grow tunnel and it will help sustain warmth, especially in cool periods, as approved by Bob Flowerdew. 😉

        Am not sure about the energy multiplier claimed by the company involved in Northern Ireland, especially when the dual need of building warmth and hot water in a hospital are concerned but every little bit helps reduce CO2. Cost effectiveness is the big question to answer. As it is the taxpayer via NHS footing the bill, I guess that may not be a top priority.

        Moi? Cynical? I could not possibly comment.

  12. paul weldon permalink
    March 27, 2018 8:52 am

    Winters will be wetter, with the potential for higher daily rainfall. This is because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which in turn leads to intensified rainfall.

    This statement shows the logic with which these idiots work: if a warmer atmosphere leads to more intensified rainfall, then surely there should be more rain in summer than in winter when it is colder!

    • dave permalink
      March 27, 2018 11:37 am

      “…a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture…”

      An old,old,old chestnut of a scientific howler,howler,howler.

  13. Vernon E permalink
    March 27, 2018 10:38 am

    The Telegraph can no longer be considered a serious newspaper. Has anyone noticed that little Gillian now appears to be more than one person. On a daily basis she writes badly written utter drivel but occasionally in the business section a well-written intelligent piece appears under her name. I think Paul is spot-on; the paper is using third parties to write its material then ascribing it to its in-house journos.

  14. Gerry, England permalink
    March 27, 2018 12:45 pm

    Calling them journalists is an insult to those that do a proper research job for their articles, rare as they are these days.

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