Met Office “Unprecedented” Rainfall Nonsense

  • Date: 27/07/17
  • Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That

If the Met Office had looked at the actual data, and not their computer simulations, they would have concluded that UK weather is not getting more extreme.

The Met Office has just issued this news release:

image

New innovative research has found that for England and Wales there is a 1 in 3 chance of a new monthly rainfall record in at least one region each winter (Oct-Mar).

In the last few years several rainfall events have caused widespread flooding in the UK. In winter 2013/14 a succession of storms hit the UK leading to record rainfall and flooding in many regions including the south east. December 2015 was similar, and Storm Desmond hit the north-west causing widespread flooding and storm damage.

By their very nature extreme events are rare and a novel research method was needed to quantify the risk of extreme rainfall within the current climate.

Professor Adam Scaife, who leads this area of research at the Met Office said “The new Met Office supercomputer was used to simulate thousands of possible winters, some of them much more extreme than we’ve yet witnessed. This gave many more extreme events than have happened in the real world, helping us work out how severe things could get.”

Analysing these simulated events showed there is a 7% risk of record monthly rainfall in south east England in any given winter. When other regions of England and Wales are also considered this increases to a 34% chance. [….]

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Curiously they seem to be ignoring real observations, in favour of computer simulations. Possibly this is because the historical observations say that there is nothing unusual about recent precipitation events.

But more on this in a bit.

First though, let’s look at the central claim:

Analysing these simulated events showed there is a 7% risk of record monthly rainfall in south east England in any given winter. When other regions of England and Wales are also considered this increases to a 34% chance.

Records for SE England only date back to 1910, so we have 108 years of data now. With six “winter” months, ie October to March, we would expect a record high month every 18 years. That is a probability of 5.6%, so the claim of 7% is barely greater.

There are six regions in England and Wales, so the chance of a record month somewhere there is 33.6%.

So the Met Office is hyping up the chance of record rainfall, when in fact their calculations show it to be little different to normal probability.

Concerns about record winter rainfall seem to arise from the belief that winter rainfall is increasing. But there is no evidence of that in England, and despite two wet winters in 2014 and 2016, little in Wales either.

England

Wales Rainfall - Winter

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

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