Wettest December? Not According To The England & Wales Series

  • Date: 06/01/16
  • Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That

Why did the Met Office rush to declare the “wettest evah”, when they knew the England & Wales Series would say something totally different?

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http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2016/december-records

 

 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35228779

Only one slight problem! The Met Office have a much longer running record, the England & Wales Precipitation Series, which goes back to 1766, and this shows that last month was nowhere near being the record wettest.   According to that, the wettest December was in 1876.

Furthermore, last month only ranks as the 20th wettest December.

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http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadukp/data/download.html

The claim that extremely wet winters are becoming more common does not stand up either. Whilst three of the last four Decembers appear in the Top 20 list, this sort of clustering is very common, eg:

1821/23/24/27

1868/69/72/76

1909/10/11/14/15/18/19

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Of course, it has still been exceptionally wet, and often one part of the country gets particularly targeted. Last month it was the North West.

In 1876, it was the the southern half of England, which was particularly badly hit:

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http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/library/archive-hidden-treasures/british-rainfall

Obviously the amounts of rain which fell last month are by no means “unprecedented”.

Of course, the 1766 Series does not include Scotland or N. Ireland, and we have no means of knowing whether they were wetter in 1876, as no figures are available.

We do know, however, that last month was not as wet as December 1919 in N. Ireland, so the most that can be claimed is that it was a record for Scotland.

But, of course, it is in England where most of the flooding problems have occurred.

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