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Warming could raise UK flood damage bill by 20%, Say Make-Believe Computer Simulations

March 7, 2023

By Paul Homewood

h/t Paul Kolk

The usual scaremongering from the BBC:


Researchers have produced a detailed "future flood map" of Britain – simulating the impact of flooding as climate change takes its toll.

It has revealed that annual damage caused by flooding could increase by more than a fifth in today’s terms over the next century.

That could be reduced if pledges to reduce global carbon emissions are met.

Meanwhile back in the real world, real flood experts have analysed historical flood trends, and found that the percentage of the population at risk has actually declined since 1870 in Britain:


The same study concludes that normalised economic losses have fallen sharply since the 1950s across Europe as a whole, as has the number of people affected in England:



And a 2014 study by Stevens et al found no long term trends in flooding in the UK, once allowance was made for new house build on flood plains; indeed there has been a marked decline in the incidence of the most severe floods:



But the BBC prefers the make-believe computer simulations!

  1. Michael permalink
    March 7, 2023 2:14 pm

    Off topic, but I see that the Beeb were up to their usual tricks during Countryfile on Sunday evening, twice attributing coastal erosion at Happisburgh to climate change!

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 7, 2023 6:37 pm

      Only twice, very restrained by BBC standards

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      March 7, 2023 11:26 pm

      The BBC also said a couple of days ago that the current cold spell isn’t going to be as bad as 2018’s Beast from the East which produced lows of -12 and 50cm of snow. GFS models are predicting lows of at least -15 in the Highlands and maybe 75cm of snow somewhere from Northern England to Central Scotland.

    • Jules permalink
      March 8, 2023 12:44 pm

      If the reporters on Countryfile had been more honest they would have shown the map of towns and villages that disappeared into the North Sea over the last thousand years. Most of Dunwich went 300 years ago. They would also have shown the areas of deposition. This is basic geography.

    • Caro permalink
      March 8, 2023 3:25 pm

      I suspect that the ‘flood reporting’ by the BBC yesterday was to deflect from the snowfall around the country. Or is it just my suspicious mind?

  2. Chris Davie permalink
    March 7, 2023 2:22 pm

    Of course, as soon as they talk about “simulation” or “model” it means that someone has made some “assumptions”. It’s amazing how easy it is to get the answers you want when you do that!

    • March 7, 2023 3:10 pm

      The “could” in the title soon becomes “will” in the body of the article. The expected quality for a BBC climate article these days, sad to say.

    • Chris Phillips permalink
      March 7, 2023 3:43 pm

      When I was involved with modelling of engineering issues, we called the assumptions “fiddle factors” and we all knew that you could get any answer you wanted by adjusting these. The modelling was useful to compare the effects on the outcome of different assumptions but we were well aware that the “answers” it provided were not real and should not to be relied upon. A lot of current engineers and scientists (at least the ones the BBC and other mass media report on), seem to have conveniently forgotten these facts about models.

      • T Walker permalink
        March 7, 2023 4:02 pm

        Known as Parametrisations, fudge factors are an acceptable way to nudge a model to give better answers. In meteorology it very use in deterministic models when you can’t model the detail. BUT in this situation you can see the next day whether your fudge gives better outcomes when the real world gives you the answer. As we know with climate models we will never actually know. Although their performance in the short term doesn’t bode well.

        I sometimes wonder if climate models have nudges programmed to fix problems generated by fudges that may or may not have been REMed out. There are a million or so lines in some models they tell me.

      • Gamecock permalink
        March 8, 2023 1:28 am

        10-4, T Walker.

        ~1980, I was modeling process waste in a manufacturing plant. It wasn’t coming out right. I actually came up with an adjustment factor, applied it, and it worked. I never knew why it worked.

        Parametrisations, or parameterizations as I incorrectly called them, are one of life’s mysteries.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        March 8, 2023 8:10 am

        Same with the financial models I used to build and use. We knew the forecast copper price was wrong. But the models were still useful to test how robust the project was, what external and project parameters it was sensitive too, how quickly it paid back – important in what were then “frontier economies.” But at some point, they stopped being models and became forecasts. And then the financial system went to hell. These flood models might be interesting if used correctly – to look at variables to understand risks. But they rarely the worst case and pretend it’s fact.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 7, 2023 4:50 pm

      As soon as I heard the BBC headline I just knew the report wasn’t down to the ‘scientific research which they claimed but was modelled. Then, I read that they were projecting 20 years fwd. I just thought, how do they model the increase and type of urban development that will undoubtedly gave an effect on town flooding.
      All in all, I reckon BBC are throwing out scare stories so as to keep CC relevant in light of the cold Sun we are going through over the next few years.

      • John Hultquist permalink
        March 8, 2023 3:04 am

        ” cold Sun”

        What does “cold” mean?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 8, 2023 9:00 am

        John, I was referring to the short-hand for solar-cycles 24/25 which, if I understand correctly, means the sun’s irradiance is reduced markedly.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 8, 2023 5:25 pm

        See “Die kalte Sonne: warum die Klimakatastrophe nicht stattfindet” published in 2012 by Fritz Vahrenholt and Sebastian Lüning, which upset the Watermelons but appears to be prescient.

    • Don B permalink
      March 7, 2023 5:39 pm

      As William Briggs often says…

      “Models only say what they are told to say.”

  3. Mr Pitchfork. permalink
    March 7, 2023 2:30 pm

    The BBC and grant-obsessed academia start with the false assumption that man made climate change is real and then produce evidence to confirm it. Not really how science works.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      March 8, 2023 8:11 am

      This is starting from the assumption it’s real and then modelling worst case scenarios to get us all to conform to political agendas. It’s shameless.

    • dennisambler permalink
      March 8, 2023 2:23 pm

      It’s how the IPCC began, start with a conclusion and then fit data around to “prove” your conclusion. The trouble with modelling results is that they are presented as facts and fed into the next model runs.

      Kevin Trenberth in 2007:

      “None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate.

      In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models.

      There is neither an El Niño sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond.

      The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus ocean currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today’s state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forecasts for the next decade from Brazil to Europe.

      Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors.”

      The science is settled.

  4. GeoffB permalink
    March 7, 2023 2:33 pm

    Was on lunchtime news today, it is not even news, just more propaganda. How do the BBC get away with it, particularly as OFCOM has found broadcaster Mark Steyn guilty of breaking broadcasting rules by stating Covid vaccines were ineffective (April 2022 GB news). Here is his website, worth a look..

  5. europeanonion permalink
    March 7, 2023 2:33 pm

    What do you believe: We have too much water? We do not have enough water? Scenes of flooding suggest that water is not being managed and that is endorsed by the perpetual drought. But even when too much water is anticipated what’s to be done, open the sluices and let the sewage flow free? Water is a valuable substance popping in and out of our consciousness at the behest of the climate blob and the utility companies. The floods tell us that we are losing money down the drain and the sewage problems make for a threatening environment. We are a country that, self-evidently, has too many people for our resources to cope with. Or, financial expediency is selling us short.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 7, 2023 6:21 pm

      The last reservoir in the UK was built in 1991 when population was 57.42 million, in 2021 it was 67.33 million.

      Says it all.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        March 7, 2023 6:48 pm

        Carsington Water isn’t what you’d call a reservoir. It’s pumped storage from the Derwent mainly. The Derwent after it’s filled Ladybower, Howden and Derwent reservoirs.
        The last big one was built a decade before -Kielder Water.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 7, 2023 6:58 pm

        IIRC Kielder Water was to be the keystone of the national water grid…

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        March 8, 2023 11:30 am

        Weren’t environmentalists against a national water grid because water from Kielder wasn’t compatible with wildlife in the Thames or some such?

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 8, 2023 6:13 pm

        Cost IIRC, but still under discussion.

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      March 7, 2023 11:32 pm

      Highland council recently put up a load of information panels next to the River Ness. One of them was about how climate change will impact the Highlands. One of the claims was that more frequent droughts would leave people short of drinking water (in the wettest part of the UK). I got a few strange looks when I burst out laughing and shouted “what the f##k” after reading it.

  6. March 7, 2023 3:45 pm

    About Sea Level Rise:

    A rising sea level would increase the Inertia of the Earth Crust.

    More Land Ice is near the spin axis of the rotating earth crust while much more ocean is near the equator where sea level rise would significantly increase the inertia of the spinning earth crust.

    Conservation of Momentum would slow the Rotation Rate of the Earth Crust. The Atomic Clocks were put in place to measure Time Extremely Accurately, in 1972. More Leap Seconds would need to be added more frequently, but Less Leap Seconds have been added to the time every decade since 1972. The last leap second was added in 2016 and none expected to be added.

    This is valid Proof that Sea Level is Lower Now than it was in 1972!

    Sea Level has Fallen for Fifty Years, yet they say it has risen and the rise rate is accelerating. If sea level Ever Rises, Added Leap Seconds will be an Immediate Indicator.

    Clearly, they have lied or been mistaken for fifty years, do not trust anything they say.

  7. March 7, 2023 3:49 pm

    I recall a year that a company plowed all of 160 acres uphill from our farm and that spring we did have an unprecedented flood. After that, they plowed in strips alternating so that they never produced another flood.

    Now, they build unprecedented wind and solar farms, uphill from where there WILL be worse future flooding. The energy taken out of the atmosphere by the windmills will also reduce the energy needed to hold water so more rain will likely fall to run downhill and cause floods.

    Observe weather radar, you can pick out major roadways and metropolitan areas because the heat island effects do modify the weather patterns.

    Computer output is computer output, Computer Output is Not Any Kind of Actual Data, the input can be changed to get any desired output, when used to frighten people, it is powerful because most do not understand that the output is whatever the programmers intended, they keep making changes until they get the scary results they want.

  8. T Walker permalink
    March 7, 2023 3:49 pm

    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

    ― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

  9. teaef permalink
    March 7, 2023 4:30 pm

    Could (or maybe couldn’t). It’s a model. And if it does, is 20% in a century a big deal? No idea.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 7, 2023 5:05 pm

    I remember some years ago discussing with Phillip Bratby whether there was some point when thousands of wind farms would take so much energy out of the air that they would alter the climate. It was (then) too early to tell. But I think it could still be worth a thought…

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      March 7, 2023 5:07 pm

      A response to pollinate…

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 7, 2023 6:36 pm

      I have had similar thoughts myself, taking kinetic energy from the all-important cyclone-anticyclone system – especially in the critically important boundary layer – cannot be without some effect, in fact I believe it is already becoming apparent.

      Has anyone bothered checking the frequency of wind droughts in Western Europe, for example?

      And what is the likely effect of slowing the aforesaid belts, not helpful I suspect!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      March 7, 2023 7:00 pm

      Surely something worthwhile for the Met Office to model?

      Net Zero winds….

  11. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 7, 2023 7:03 pm

    There’s nothing the BBC wouldn’t stoop to.
    The BBC’s latest Sir David Attenborough series has been part-funded by two charities previously criticised for their political lobbying, it has emerged.

    Wild Isles, a landmark natural history series launching this week on BBC One, has been co-produced by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

  12. avro607 permalink
    March 7, 2023 7:04 pm

    Thankyou for the explanation connecting sea level movement to the inertia of the earth”s crust.Prof. Morner mentioned it some years ago.but I did not understand at that time.
    Very sad to lose Nils.A lovely man and a real scientist. R I P.

  13. Matt Dalby permalink
    March 7, 2023 11:34 pm

    I wonder how the studies Paul refers to got published in Nature. They often reject papers that don’t confirm that AGW is a serious problem.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      March 8, 2023 8:18 am

      Aa far as I can tell, it’s also impoto get any kind of science book published without confirming its real and a big problem. I recently read “Science Fictions” an excellent description of the problems science has and why a great deal if “science” isn’t. But not climate science. The author “proves” that has none of the problems he describes in every other branch of science! Now reading a book about human evolution and the Pleistocene. The author describes how climate change drove our evolution, including a description of rapid temperature increases – far faster than now. But then we get a section telling us that doesn’t matter and today’s climate change is a big problem. The publishing industry us now pure propaganda.

  14. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 8, 2023 8:19 am

    Does this use RCP8.5? A completely discredited scenario.

  15. Gamecock permalink
    March 8, 2023 11:47 am

    ‘That could be reduced if pledges to reduce global carbon emissions are met.’

    Vicky and Kate say so, and they would know.

  16. frankobaysio permalink
    March 8, 2023 11:55 am

    The Government Review of Electricity Market Arrangements and the responses has just been published today.

  17. Caro permalink
    March 8, 2023 2:22 pm

    Can anyone with more scientific knowledge than me explain how approximately 16 parts per million of man made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can cause floods AND droughts?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 8, 2023 7:16 pm


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