Expert predicts ‘Monsoon Britain’

Guest post by Paul Homewood

Prof. Stuart Lane

h/t Robuk

A study, by Professor Stuart Lane of Durham University back in 2008, appears to have been remarkably percipient. Written just after the extremely wet summer of 2007, the study suggests that, far from summers in the UK becoming drier as most climate models predict, they are likely to become wetter.

Lane makes the following points.

  • The wetter weather in 2007, and which he forecasts will continue to be the pattern, is the result of the movement of the jet stream onto a more southerly track. (This, of course, is exactly what happened in 2012).
  • The period 1960-90 was an unusually dry one, especially compared to the 19th and early 20thC.
  • Three-quarters of our flood records start in the flood-poor period that began in the 1960’s. As a result, the frequency of flooding has been underestimated, leading to building on flood plains, etc.
  • Examining seasonal rainfall data and river flow patterns back to 1753, suggests many other “flood-rich periods” in the past which are comparable to now.
  • We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”.
  • Linking heavier rainfall to global warming was wrong.

News Release

Last summer was the second wettest on record and experts who have studied rainfall and river flow patterns over 250 years say we must prepare for worse to come. Professor Stuart Lane, from Durham University’s new Institute of Hazard and Risk, says that after about 30 to 40 less eventful years, we seem to be entering a ‘flood-rich’ period. More flooding is likely over a number of decades.

Prof. Lane, who publishes his research in the current edition of the academic journal Geography, set out to examine the wet summer of 2007 in the light of climate change. His work shows that some of the links made between the summer 2007 floods and climate change were wrong. Our current predictions of climate change for summer should result in weather patterns that were the exact opposite of what actually happened in 2007. The British summer is a product of the UK’s weather conveyor belt and the progress of the Circumpolar Vortex or ‘jet stream’. This determines whether we have high or low pressure systems over the UK. Usually the jet stream weakens and moves northwards during spring and into summer. This move signals the change from our winter-spring cyclonic weather to more stable weather during the summer. High pressure systems extend from the south allowing warm air to give us our British summer.

In 2007, the jet stream stayed well south of its normal position for June and July, causing low pressure systems to track over the UK, becoming slow moving as they did so. This has happened in summer before, but not to the same degree. Prof. Lane shows that the British summer can often be very wet – about ten per cent of summers are wetter than a normal winter. What we don’t know is whether climate change will make this happen more in the future.

However, in looking at longer rainfall and river flow records, Prof. Lane shows that we have forgotten just how normal flooding in the UK is. He looked at seasonal rainfall and river flow patterns dating back to 1753 which suggest fluctuations between very wet and very dry periods, each lasting for a few years at a time, but also very long periods of a few decades that can be particularly wet or particularly dry. In terms of river flooding, the period since the early 1960s and until the late 1990s appears to be relatively flood free, especially when compared with some periods in the late 19th century and early 20th Century.

As a result of analysing rainfall and river flow patterns, Prof. Lane believes that the UK is entering a flood rich period that we haven’t seen for a number of decades. He said: “We entered a generally flood-poor period in the 1960s, earlier in some parts of the country, later in others. This does not mean there was no flooding, just that there was much less than before the 1960s and what we are seeing now. This has lowered our own awareness of flood risk in the UK. This has made it easier to go on building on floodplains. It has also helped us to believe that we can manage flooding without too much cost, simply because there was not that much flooding to manage.” He added: “We have also not been good at recognising just how flood-prone we can be. More than three-quarters of our flood records start in the flood-poor period that begins in the 1960s. This matters because we set our flood protection in terms of return periods – the average number of years between floods of a given size. We have probably under-estimated the frequency of flooding, which is now happening, as it did before the 1960s, much more often that we are used to. “The problem is that many of our decisions over what development to allow and what defences to build rely upon a good estimate of these return periods.

The government estimates that 2.1 million properties and 5 million people are at risk of flooding. In his review of the summer floods Sir Michael Pitt was wise to say that flooding should be given the same priority as terrorism.” Professor Lane concluded: “We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding that are beyond most people’s living memory, something that most of us have forgotten how to do.”

Flooding is one of the issues covered by the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research at Durham University where Prof. Lane is a resident expert. The IHRR, which launches this week, is a new and unique interdisciplinary research institute committed to delivering fundamental research on hazards and risks and to harness this knowledge to inform global policy. It aims to improve human responses to both age-old hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and floods as well as the new and uncertain risks of climate change, surveillance, terror and emerging technologies. Prof. Lane’s research is funded by the Willis Research Network, an innovative collaboration between universities worldwide and the insurance industry, and The UK Research Councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use Programme.

Perhaps Julia Slingo should read this paper.

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Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland
January 27, 2013 12:48 pm

What part of “FLOODPLAIN” was not immediately clear? They didn’t call it a “droughtplain” or a “builder’s paradise”, did they. All the climate change-panicked pundits should just take a remedial course in geomorphology in order to cement the variability of the climate in their noggins.

Patrick Hrushowy
January 27, 2013 12:51 pm

Is it possible that a similar shift in the jet stream track has altered percipitation patterns on the west coast of North America? And follows the same kind of shift between wet and dry?

Ian W
January 27, 2013 12:52 pm

One has to congratulate the warmists that the use of the term ‘climate change’ is now automatically associated in ones head with Anthropogenic Global Warming. So this study appears to make no mention of AGW but by using the term ‘climate change’ it is implied. Agenda 21 Newspeak.
The Great Famine of 1315-1322 was caused by continual rain at the end of the Medieval Warm Period as the Earth cooled into the Little Ice Age. We may be at a similar point now as we exit the 20th century warm period into a cooler period. If it becomes a minimum to the depth of the Maunder minimum then the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research will have plenty to do.

January 27, 2013 12:54 pm

It seems from the summary an excellent piece of work, but prediction based on perceived past patterns without understanding the underlying causes isn’t science. Which is not to say his prediction won’t prove correct.

January 27, 2013 1:00 pm

Don’t expect the beeb to report this!

January 27, 2013 1:06 pm

I wonder how much rain fell in Britain in 1315 during The Wolf Minimum, which was also the start of The Great Famine and The Little Ice Age?

Dragon's Hunab
January 27, 2013 1:10 pm

Interesting story, but it really won’t matter what the content is. Anytime there’s a change in the weather (READ: Always) the AGW people will say it verifies global warming. And it’s still a climate prediction and as susceptible to error as any other.

January 27, 2013 1:15 pm

It simply astounds me that in our thousands of years of living experience we are so easily seduced from or are so ignorant of our past and lessons so freely available.

January 27, 2013 1:16 pm

English long term summer temperatures have been remarkably consistent
For 350 years the average Central England summer temperatures were showing no increase whatsoever oscillating between 14 and 16.5 degrees C, with a zero trend.
During the same 350 year period the winters have warmed up by a meager 1 degree C.

January 27, 2013 1:26 pm

what to make of this, anthony?
26 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: AFP: Cities affecting weather in faraway places: study
Heat from large cities alters local streams of high-altitude winds, potentially affecting weather in locations thousands of kilometres away, researchers say.
The findings could explain a long-running puzzle in climate change – why some regions in the northern hemisphere are strangely experiencing warmer winters than computer models have forecast…
This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat island”, has been known for years, but until now has mainly been thought to affect only city dwellers, especially in summer heatwaves.
But a team of scientists in the United States, using a computer model of the atmosphere, point to impacts that go much further than expected.
The high concentration of heat rises into jet-stream winds and widens their flow, transporting heat – as much as 1C – to places far away…
The effect on global temperatures, though, is negligible, accounting for an average warming worldwide of just 0.01C…
The study appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

January 27, 2013 1:31 pm

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead back in Kurdistan but actually in Switzerland says:
January 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm.
Geomorphology (from Greek: γῆ, ge, “earth”; μορφή, morfé, “form”; and λόγος, logos, “study”) is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them.(wiki) While all information is useful, I’m not clear how a knowledge of Geomorphology is directly pertinent to understanding the variability of climate. (no snark intended).
It’s also of interest to note that, certainly in Europe, the years directly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars were notable for very wet weather, with famine and food shortages rampant throughout Europe. This would have been about the time when the LIA started to change into a warming period. Could it be that heavy precipitation is one of the signals of a change in climate ? I am a bear of very little brain on this, so would appreciate a heavyweight view.

john robertson
January 27, 2013 1:33 pm

Who made the decision to ignore floods from before 1960?
I thought England had records back to the 1300s, of conditions inside the boroughs.
Basing public policy on a history of floods cut off at 1960 defies all logic,do I misunderstand?

January 27, 2013 1:40 pm

Per Strandberg (@LittleIceAge) says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm
I wonder how much rain fell in Britain in 1315 during The Wolf Minimum, which was also the start of The Great Famine and The Little Ice Age?

1314 A.D. In 1314 [in England], it rained almost ten months continually, but during July and August, the rains were incessant. The husbandmen [farmers] could not get in the small crop they had on the ground, and what they got in, the yield from it was very small. Hence there was a grievous famine in 1315 that lasted two years and from it most mortal dysentery. So that it was drudgery on the surviving to bury the dead. Cattle and beasts being corrupted by the grass whereon they fed and then died; hence people dreaded eating their flesh. Only horseflesh was a delicate dish. The poor stole fat cats to eat.

“A Chronological Listing of Early Weather Events 6th Edition” James A. Marusek (2010)

January 27, 2013 1:41 pm

I own a beautiful Stone cottage just below Harlech Castle in Gwynedd North Wales The castle walls used to be feet away from Cardigan Bay.The sea originally came much closer to Harlech than in modern times, and a water-gate and a long flight of steps leads down from the castle to the former shore, which allowed the castle to be resupplied by sea during sieges. over the years the sea level dropped leaving the Castle high and dry, miles from the bay and its beaches.
UNESCO considers Harlech to be one of “the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe”
Here is my Dilemma do I sell the cottage or rise it up in sticks to avoid the ocean in rush from the predictions and the coming end times???
Sarc off.

January 27, 2013 1:44 pm

“This has lowered our own awareness of flood risk in the UK.”
First, you can bet there were old grouches who remembered wetter times, saying “Don’t build there.” Second, there were slick builders saying, “I have a charming lot for you to build your dream cottage upon.”
The buyer beware. Keep your awareness high.

lemiere jacques
January 27, 2013 1:50 pm

someone will be right for sure.
You should try to predict who predicted right.

January 27, 2013 1:57 pm

Difficult to make sense of the recent fuss over UK rainfall and flooding, and well done to Paul Homewood for continuing to highlight the issue.
Presumably the facts are according to the UK rainfall data on the Met Office site? A small increasing trend since 1800. A larger increase since 1960, but comparable to increases seen over several periods since 1800. An increase in winter rainfall during 1850-1950, but nothing obviously different since then. Google easily turns up a credible study of UK flooding published in 2002, concluding no obvious trends.
But the Met Office press releases largely concentrate on the increasing period from 1960 without bothering to point out the longer term behavior! These press releases seem designed to mislead, I can’t think how else to interpret them. I tell you, if I lived in Tunbridge Wells I would be well and truly disgusted, and I would certainly insist on my money back (if only I could).

January 27, 2013 1:57 pm

pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat island”………The high concentration of heat rises into jet-stream winds and widens their flow….
Not certain about the large cities, but I think there is no doubt that the northern latitudes volcanic eruptions do that:

John West
January 27, 2013 2:11 pm

Sydney Morning Herald: (via pat)
” transporting heat – as much as 1C – to places far away…The effect on global temperatures, though, is negligible, accounting for an average warming worldwide of just 0.01C…
Yes, averaged over the entire surface it (and UHI effect in general) is negligible, too bad we don’t measure temperature that way; we measure at the effect and then pretend we don’t.

January 27, 2013 2:17 pm

“We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”.”
I think that alarmism relies on some sort of collective Alzheimer’s, where the inconvenient past is forgotten …

January 27, 2013 2:21 pm

pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
what to make of this, anthony?
26 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: AFP: Cities affecting weather in faraway places: study
Heat from large cities alters local streams of high-altitude winds, potentially affecting weather in locations thousands of kilometres away, researchers say.
The findings could explain a long-running puzzle in climate change – why some regions in the northern hemisphere are strangely experiencing warmer winters than computer models have forecast…
This phenomenon, known as the “urban heat island”, has been known for years, but until now has mainly been thought to affect only city dwellers, especially in summer heatwaves.
But a team of scientists in the United States, using a computer model of the atmosphere, point to impacts that go much further than expected.”
Read that last sentence. Computer Model says it all. Who programmed it and what parameters did they use.

January 27, 2013 2:23 pm

But a team of scientists in the United States, using a computer model of the atmosphere, point to impacts that go much further than expected.
The high concentration of heat rises into jet-stream winds and widens their flow, transporting heat – as much as 1C – to places far away…
Yet another MODEL. Where are the measurements to demonstrate this “model”?
Models of models of models – does no one actually measure anything anymore?
As an engineer we used to do flood frequency calculations then go out in the field to look for flood evidence at the levels we predicted to check our calculations. Doesn’t anyone leave the office anymore?

January 27, 2013 2:29 pm

Wetter but not monsoon? As I understand it a monsoon can only happen on a large landmass when the interior heats and convection sucks in wet maritime air.

January 27, 2013 2:30 pm

This has made it easier to go on building on floodplains
swampland in Florida

Chuck Nolan
January 27, 2013 2:31 pm

pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
what to make of this, anthony?
26 Jan: Sydney Morning Herald: …………………………The effect on global temperatures, though, is negligible, accounting for an average warming worldwide of just 0.01C…
The study appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Oh no.
It looks like they’ve found a fifth parameter and they are about to make the elephant’s trunk wiggle.
This could give JH a whole new set of numbers he can work with. You can bet they’ll take control of that number and set it right where they need it.
Oh no.

January 27, 2013 2:34 pm

We can expect more of the same until the sun wakes up and kicks the jet stream back where it belongs.

Bruce of Newcastle
January 27, 2013 2:40 pm

is the result of the movement of the jet stream onto a more southerly track
Worth mentioning that Prof Mike Lockwood at University of Reading found a link between low solar activity and jet stream blocking, leading to very cold UK winters. Jet stream blocking likewise was the cause of the 2010 Moscow heat wave which occurred only a few months after that BBC article. Such blocking can occur when the Rossby waves become more sinuous and extend further away from the poles than usual (btw, the last link is very relevant to Paul’s post about wet summers in the UK).
As we know, the Sun is in its weakest cycle at least since the Dalton minimum, and possibly since the Maunder minimum.
Our recent heatwave here in Australia may also have been a similar blocking event since there was a big, presumably blocking, high in the Tasman sea, behind which the continent heated and we broke all time historical temperature records in my town.

Rhoda R
January 27, 2013 2:47 pm

Looks like the warmists are getting ready to spin the UHIE to their advantage. It’s not big enough to affect global temps but it IS big enough to affect the jet stream. Wow…..

January 27, 2013 2:55 pm

“Perhaps Julia Slingo should read this paper.”
In my opinion Julia can get away with not reading anything at all. She just make things up as she goes along and gets away with it. – In front of a commitee of MPs she said that the question about the “Hockeystick” had been resolved – and nobody asked her what that particular resolvement was.
So she made a hook for herself – and noone hung her on it.

January 27, 2013 3:06 pm

Being `thoroughly` scientific;) I did an extremely local image search for flooding (within a couple of streets from where i live).Then filtered them first for colour,then for black and white.
Monochrome returned 20 images,Dating 1900, 1957 and 1970
Colour returned just 4 none relating to the area.
I conclude, that the chaps on to something.
I also conclude that the phrase `Great Flood` can be used by a local rag to shift more copy.
There`s only one comment under the slide show,by a bloke called `cabbie`and i strongly suspect he`s one of us 🙂

January 27, 2013 3:07 pm

Eastern Australia is having an extraordinarily wet & stormy January at the moment with mini tornadoes and awful flooding. However, this happened around the same time in 1974 I think and I got flooded out of the mountains behind Sydney when it should have been warm & dry. AT the same time as the monsoonal wet has diverted itself to Australia’s E coast, the regular wet monsoon itself has failed to arrive in the Northern Territory and people are sweltering in unaccustomed humid heat. Way down South in Adelaide, near the freezing Southern Ocean, we are getting summer temperatures in the upper 40s – unheard of for many decades and seemingly in higher frequency than ever recorded. Bushfires are raging all over the place, killing vast quantities of wildlife, stock animals and ruining homes and livelihoods. This cyclical pattern or climate change or whatever, is NOT making anyone happy!

January 27, 2013 3:11 pm

Phil Bradley – Prediction based on perceived past patterns most certainly is science – The human brain is much better than computers at perceiving patterns. A good empirical correlation is the fastest path towards sorting out and understanding the underlying mechanisms. If you start assuming that you know the underlying mechanisms you grossly overestimate your level of knowledge – this is in fact the basic problem with the IPCC models – they are structurally wrong.
For an example of a prediction of global cooling based on just such a comparison see my post at
Compare for example the Steinhilber et al ( Fig 3) cosmic ray intensity graph with the Christiansen and Ljungqvist (fig 5) temperature reconstruction – it shows you where to start looking for mechanisms while providing a testable prediction of future temperatures which I believe is more likely accurate than all the expensive climate models which are inherently untestable because of their complexity and number of variable perameters.
Per Strandberg – Incidentally the 1315 event and the Wolf minimum shows up nicely on both figures referred to above.

January 27, 2013 3:20 pm

Truthseeker says:
January 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm
“We have forgotten “just how normal flooding is in the UK”.”
I think that alarmism relies on some sort of collective Alzheimer’s, where the inconvenient past is forgotten …
Honestly Truthseeker,i can sit with the `ancients` in my family and they always tell me,`It was colder/dryer/wetter,hotter/more expensive when i was your age!`…and of course they were mostly right:)
But they don`t have an agender,the msm usually does;)

January 27, 2013 3:28 pm

Wayne Dek….. Ask the engineers who designed the 787 Dreamliner. One costly computer model AGW fighting waste of flying lithium battery (?) mistake. This plane will cost Boeing dearly. So sad another CAGW failure. Lets hope it does not kill the whole company. The batteries will never work and risk management better not play a numbers game and send them back out before the problem is truly fixed if it is even possible.
Little off topic so to the point – computer models are GIGO.

William Astley
January 27, 2013 3:49 pm

As planetary temperature has not changed significantly in 16 years the observed sudden increase in rainfall in the UK is likely not due to AGW.
There appears to be a significant solar magnetic cycle change underway. There is in the paleoclimatic record cycles of sinusoidal and cyclic abrupt cooling correlate with a solar magnetic cycle changes.
A Pervasive Millennial-Scale Cycle in North Atlantic, Holocene and Glacial Climates
Evidence from North Atlantic deep sea cores reveals that abrupt shifts punctuated what is conventionally thought to have been a relatively stable Holocene climate. During each of these episodes, cool, ice-bearing waters from north of Iceland were advected as far south as the latitude of Britain. At about the same times, the atmospheric circulation above Greenland changed abruptly. Pacings of the Holocene events and of abrupt climate shifts during the last glaciation are statistically the same; together, they make up a series of climate shifts with a cyclicity close to 1470 +/-500 years. The Holocene events, therefore, appear to be the most recent manifestation of a pervasive millennial-scale climate cycle operating independently of the glacial-interglacial climate state. Amplification of the cycle during the last glaciation may have been linked to the North Atlantic’s thermohaline circulation. (William: The thermohaline hypothesis has been disproved. This paper notes there is a cycle. Other papers note there are cosmogenic isotope changes that correlate with the planetary temperature changes. The cosmogenic isotope changes are caused by solar magnetic cycle changes. The unknown is what is happening to the sun and the earth during these periods to cause the planetary temperature changes. It appears we will have an opportunity to observe a Bond event.)
List of Bond events
Most Bond events do not have a clear climate signal; some correspond to periods of cooling, others are coincident with aridification in some regions.
• ≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum(450–900 AD)
• ≈2,800 BP (Bond event 2) — roughly correlates with the Iron Age Cold Epoch (900–300 BC)[8]
• ≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event
• ≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event
• ≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event (significant cooling event)
• ≈9,400 BP (Bond event 6) — correlates with the Erdalen event of glacier activity in Norway,[9] as well as with a cold event in China.[10]
• ≈10,300 BP (Bond event 7) — unnamed event
• ≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal
Reduced solar activity as a trigger for the start of the Younger Dryas?
“The role of solar forcing upon climate change”
“A number of those Holocene climate cooling phases… most likely of a global nature (eg Magney, 1993; van Geel et al, 1996; Alley et al 1997; Stager & Mayewski, 1997) … the cooling phases seem to be part of a millennial-scale climatic cycle operating independent of the glacial-interglacial cycles (which are) forced (perhaps paced) by orbit variations.”
“… we show here evidence that the variation in solar activity is a cause for the millennial scale climate change.”
Last 40 kyrs
Figure 2 in paper. (From data last 40 kyrs)… “conclude that solar forcing of climate, as indicated by high BE10 values, coincided with cold phases of Dansgaar-Oeschger events as shown in O16 records”
Recent Solar Event
“Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) “…coincides with one of the coldest phases of the Little Ice Age… (van Geel et al 1998b)
“Mayewski et al (1997) showed a 1450 yr periodicity in C14 … from tree rings and …from glaciochemicial series (NaCl & Dust) from the GISP2 ice core … believed to reflect changes in polar atmospheric circulation..”

Keith Gordon
January 27, 2013 3:51 pm

grumpyoldmanuk says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm
Geomorphology (from Greek: γῆ, ge, “earth”; μορφή, morfé, “form”; and λόγος, logos, “study”) is the scientific study of landforms and the processes that shape them.(wiki) While all information is useful, I’m not clear how a knowledge of Geomorphology is directly pertinent to understanding the variability of climate. (no snark intended).
My understanding of Geomorphology is the study of the weathering of the earths surface, an understanding of climate and it’s effects on the earth is essential. That’s how I got interested in climate originally.
Regards Keith Gordon

alex the skeptic
January 27, 2013 3:53 pm

murfomurf says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Some 110 years ago, Dorothea Mackellar wrote a very beautiful poem ab out Australia which actually tells us a lot about the dire and extreme climatic conditions Oz was going through in those times, 110 years ago
My Country
.I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.
Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold –
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

John Bell
January 27, 2013 3:55 pm

I tell you 2007 was very dry in Michigan, USA and that summer I hid two camoflaged duffle bags of camping gear in a local park and I would on a saturday go there camp out on the sly, and the gear never got musty waiting for me. 2012 was quite dry also in the summer. I would have taken some of that British rain here last year!

January 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Dr Norman Page says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm
Phil Bradley – Prediction based on perceived past patterns most certainly is science – The human brain is much better than computers at perceiving patterns. A good empirical correlation is the fastest path towards sorting out and understanding the underlying mechanisms.

We are indeed good at recognizing patterns, including patterns that aren’t there. The likely reason is to avoid predators, it is better to have a lot of false positives, the cost of which is small, than to have a false negative, where the cost is high – you get eaten.
Otherwise, I could have phrased my point better.
A prediction is only a scientific prediction when it derives from a theory that specifies cause. If you don’t know what causes a pattern, you can’t say whether that pattern will continue or not.
I’ll also note that the Prof. Lane’s prediction may be based on regression to the mean, which is a perfectly valid basis for prediction, and the rest is from the PR writer.

G P Hanner
January 27, 2013 3:59 pm

So. Wet monsoon rather than dry monsoon.

John Ratcliffe
January 27, 2013 4:24 pm

It could be that predicting the level of flooding is not as simple as it once was. Ignoring the written record, as seems to be modern practice anyway, look at the land instead. Looking at the older turnpike network of trunk roads in the UK, but not the recently ‘straightened’ bypass roads. In the rural areas, excepting the wider flood plains of the larger rivers, where a road follows a valley, it has positioned itself over many years of usage while getting to be established on the line of most efficient travel. These areas were less likely to turn to mud or collapse or cause grief to horses pulling carriages, coaches or wagons. Also the roads tended to be sheltered from the prevaling direction of bad weather by being in the lee of hills or woods. This last being the choice of those driving the vehicles. By a natural evolution process, these roads ended up in the best possible positions with regard to flooding, and weather protection. So anyone building below these roads would be considered ‘temporary’. Roads across valleys would be built on causeways if important, if not, they would be ‘seasonal’.
Flood plains are easy to identify, fairly flat land next to a river, below a main road. Don’t build there!

January 27, 2013 4:30 pm

Ah! It isn’t that “children just aren’t going to know what snow is,”
but adults forgot what flooding is.

Michael Lewis in Sydney Australia
January 27, 2013 5:00 pm

As someone at the end of my seventh decade, I marvel at the declarations of the hottest ever or coldest ever or wettest ever put out by climate “scientists” / climate leeches (called Climate Commissioners – they don’t even see the parallel in Commisars – by our totalitarian leaning government) and the alarmist press. We have recently had a “record breaking” hot day (currently, a couple of weeks later we are having cool “summer” heavy rain) where the scope of the recording period has been truncated to relatively modern times and the original measurements adjusted and the so called record was still only a fraction of a degree celsius different. (Read the Watkin Tench story here for part of the officially ignored record). At best, our records start at the end of January 1788.
What I do remember clearly, is that in Sydney, winter is (on average) always cooler than summer and the days are shorter. Apart from that, if I use Christmas Day as a datum, the temperature on that day, in my life has varied from mid teens (celsius) to 40s. The wetness on that day has varied from non-stop light to heavy rain (I can think of one Xmas day when it rained for almost 8 hours straight), to the searing, burning dry, North Westerly (ex desert) wind driven variety.
O f course we fondly remember those “typical” days when the sky is cloudless, the temperature is mid to high 20s and the sea breeze is gentle. We’ve had a good share of those this summer in Sydney but also a good share of every other sort of day. But “the average person” often does not store these memories with much precision, so that if an ill educated reporter (almost all) or politician or a noble cause corrupted “scientist” makes a declaration that the end is nigh and that it is now much hotter or much colder or much wetter than ever before, they will accept these bold claims at face value and as we have seen, the politicians may embark on lunatic schemes to cure the “problem”.
The real problem is summed up as “human nature” – or “the (intelligence) bell curve” – or a combination.
In these blogs we spend most of our time trying to untangle the way human nature seems to have muddled the minds of those who appear to be at the pointy end of the distribution, yet cannot see the nose on their face. And on the other blogs, we also have vast numbers of people who have transferred their allegiance from the traditional “holy writ” to the modern green version, and who use the same appeal to authority and the same Calvinist/Inquisitorial approach.
And knaves will still approve/develop/sell floodplain blocks to naive buyers – or as in Brisbane today, as people are flooded for the second time in 2 years, people will keep “re-applying” to be flooded out and expect insurers and governments – which means the rest of us have to pay for their stupidity.

January 27, 2013 5:13 pm

The positive phase of the AMO also explains Arctic Ocean ice melt – warmer waters flowing into the Arctic causes less ice formation.
Stephen Rasey – I would say that developers ignored floodplains in a quest to provide homes, etc., for floodplains are easily identifiable. Out here in western USA the pioneers, studying the local geography, knew where to locate homes, farms, and ranches to avoid being flooded out.

Evan Thomas
January 27, 2013 5:25 pm

Further greetings from Oz. Dorothea Mackellar knew a great deal more about Australia’s weather than some of your posters, I’m only a young chap – 84 – but recent weather events have all happened before in my lifetime. Breaking records? Treat such claims with suspicion. Remember we haven’t been here for very long in the scheme of things. Cheers from soggy Sydney.

January 27, 2013 5:38 pm

Phil Bradley You say
“A prediction is only a scientific prediction when it derives from a theory that specifies cause. If you don’t know what causes a pattern, you can’t say whether that pattern will continue or not.”
This statement is untrue on every level – the great advances of Baconian empirical science since the seventeenth century are based on induction from observation not on deduction from some imagined theory. Check on Bacons four idols one of which is discussed in the link given earlier..
As an example earlier civilisations were able to predict eclipses with useful accuracy without having any realistic theory of why they were occurring.
In modern times quantum theory doesn’t specify any “Causes” but is able to calculate probable outcomes very accurately. see

January 27, 2013 5:47 pm

Oh, thank Heavens for that.
Looks like we can confidently expect nice dry barbecue summers for the next few years then

Bruce of Newcastle
January 27, 2013 6:01 pm

murfomurf says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

murfomurf – A short time ago on the (Oz government broadcaster) ABC lunchtime TV news they had a BoM lady on, who said the three day rainfall totals in the northern NSW coastal region have not been this much since 1974. Where I am its raining steadily, though we here are only on the southern fringes of the system.
I remember 1974 well, since I used to attend Macksville high school, and we couldn’t get to the school for a week because of the floodwaters. Schoolkids think this is just the best thing!
Noteworthy at that time solar cycle 20 was the weakest of the last 60 years and the PDO was in the cool phase. We are again in cool phase PDO and again weak solar activity. Whether this is the cause of the weather I keep an open mind, but history is a useful learning precedent.

January 27, 2013 6:09 pm

In Heidelberg, in west central Germany, the old bridge (Alte Brucke) has marks on the side it, of flood levels in the past. When I was there nearly 20 years ago, there was a flood, and a great many marks were above that particular flood. Wonder how many old bridges and other structures have marks on them recording floods in the past. There really is nothing new under the sun (or clouds as the case may be).

January 27, 2013 6:13 pm

Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate, 2nd English Ed. Leroux, Springer-Praxis, written in 2008, published in 2010, Chapter 3, section 4 page 68 “The floods and heatwave of summer 2007″… anticyclonic agglutination over central Europe and the Mediterranean -+45C in Italy…- and cooler western Europe due to powerful icelandic/Greenland MPHs 1025 hPa penetrating deep southward and advecting large amounts of moist air over the UK on their eastern side. France was divided in two with the SE facing a drought while the NW and North was being washed in rain.

January 27, 2013 6:45 pm

Yes. We have swings of wet / dry of sometimes extreme range.
@Ian W:
Yes! The turn from hotter to colder will be marked by increased evaporation / condensation. That is the mechanism by which heat is transported out / off planet.
Precipitation is the working fluid of major heat transport on the planet. We get more when a hot / cold turn happens. We get less when a cold / hot turn happens.
Somewhere back about 1960 ( I was a wee lad then, so don’t remember it exactly) my Mum went back to England for the first time in 18 years. She complained that even in July and August it was still raining darned near constantly…. just as it had in her youth…
It’s the hot wave lack of rain that was unusual (but even then, likely not all that unusual in a very long time history… I’d wager there were other dry drought decades as well..)
England? The weather changes, it’s often wet. Carry an umbrella.

Larry Kirk
January 27, 2013 6:51 pm

The idiocy of the urban sprawl throughout the UK over the past 50 years, but particularly in the south of England where I originated, has been twofold: 1. an awful lot of residential suburbia has been built on the valley floors and floodplains of all the major drainage systems, and 2. criminally, it has all been built on the best arable land. Around every village there is now an endless sprawl of tiled roofs, tarmac and concrete, where there used to be fields and crops, and every small stream and waterway now runs in a buried concrete culvert.
The original settlements were built on well-drained, higher ground, usually stony or gravelly valley sides and spurs, often on epiglacial debris, whilst the arable fields and pastures were developed on the low-lying, more level, well watered, richer alluvial soils. This was partly for defensive purposes, but also very much to avoid the flooding, rising damp, and the bone-chilling mists and fogs of English winters, to which the low-lying areas are prone.
But then along came post-war sixties and seventies suburbia, the eighties yuppie overgrowth around every country village within 100km of London, and then more of same again with the proprty boom of the 1990s and 2000s, and most of this was built on the temptingly flat, impermeable, clay-covered, alluvial valley floors and low-lying meadows where for some strange reason nobody had ever thought of building before.
Which was OK as long as the weather stayed relatively dry, as it seems to have done in the 60s and 70s, and which is OK as long as you are happy to air-freight your supermarket beans in from Africa and buy your bacon from a pig factory in Denmark. But if you ever return to the rainfall conditions that laid down (and annually renewed) the alluvium on those valley floors, or if you suddenly decide that you’d rather not import your food from overseas, you’ve got a bit of a problem.
And when it comes to urban development in drainage systems, the urban sprawl of greater London is probably one of the worst examples. The entire lower Thames Valley is now completely built over, with all of that river’s numerous tributaries buried in culverts or confined to narrow, congested channelways, bridged at every street and filled with rubbish. You only have to compare a 1970s copy of the London A to Z with the modern version to see what has been done.
So a significant increase in rainfall in the Thames catchment would be a disaster. It would turn the City into a sort of Jakarta, where every time it pours with rain ten million people find themselves paddling about in each others’ sewage, (most inconveniently to me: all the way down Jalan Thamrin, the main street of the CBD, or knee deep across the Foyer of the once-popular Garden Hotel, where visiting businessmen removed their suit trousers, shoes and socks after heavy rain, in order to wade from the staircase, out of reception, and off down the driveway, up onto the levee bank at Jalan Kemang Raya, passing through the brown flood waters of the Kemang River and the flotsam and shitsam of disintegrating slum-dwellings en route).

Evan Thomas
January 27, 2013 6:57 pm

Its me AGAIN! This may bore your socks off, but Oz posters – and those others still awake – should go to JoNova’s blog for a much more erudite and comprehensive piece about ‘records’ in Australia. Cheers from still soggy Sydney.

January 27, 2013 7:03 pm

“England? The weather changes, it’s often wet. Carry an umbrella.”
Funny, isn’t it? When Britons were whining about the floods in recent years, I just thought back to spring-time car rides as a kid with my parents, where fields were usually flooded near the river.
Of course in those days they were fields because no-one was stupid enough to build on them. Now they’re exclusive riverside executive housing developments and everyone is shocked that they flood.

John F. Hultquist
January 27, 2013 7:06 pm

Steve B says:
January 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm
pat says:
January 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
“. . . but until now has mainly been thought to affect only city dwellers, especially in summer heatwaves.

What a load of carp! This idea was studied in the 1950s, published, and republished in a large book of readings about urban geography. One of the editors of the book was Chauncy D. Harris (1914 – 2003) and he may have been the author of the paper I remember. I think the study city was Gary, Indiana.
Here is a more recent study:
So this new study, useful, perhaps. New, no.

wayne Job
January 27, 2013 7:08 pm

The weather in England at the moment could be described as a monsoon if the temperature was 30c warmer. Apart from that it is definitely a monsoon. If evolution worked quickly the English would have by now developed web feet and water proof skin like frogs.

January 27, 2013 8:22 pm

Philip Bradley says:
January 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm
It seems from the summary an excellent piece of work, but prediction based on perceived past patterns without understanding the underlying causes isn’t science.
We make predictions about gravity all the time. Yet we don’t understand the cause. We predict the tides based on past patterns, not on first principles for a similar reason.
In fact, few problems in the physical world can be solved by “knowing the cause” due to complexity. We know that the ice ages repeat approximately every 100 thousand years, so we predict another will follow about 100 thousand years after the last. Yet is is poorly understood from first principles why the cycle is 100 thousand years.

January 27, 2013 8:33 pm

Philip Bradley says:
January 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm
A prediction is only a scientific prediction when it derives from a theory that specifies cause. If you don’t know what causes a pattern, you can’t say whether that pattern will continue or not.
You can never know the cause. Only what you believe to be the cause. Until the cause for the cause is discovered, in which case the original cause is no longer the cause. It becomes simply an intermediate effect.

January 27, 2013 8:58 pm

In the NW USA it is well understood that the PDO has a direct effect on the jet stream as well as Salmon runs being large in the NW or in Alaska. They build right up to the 100 year flood plain high water mark along the Columbia River not thinking of the 500 year one. In other areas they are even less smart.

January 27, 2013 10:12 pm

WHat Mike Bromley meant by studying geomorphology is that the word floodplain (geomorphological term for low area around a river) correctly implies it is liable to flood. So dont build there.
This is also part of Mayor Bloomberg’s problem in New York insofar areas previously damaged by hurricanes in the fifties were subsequently built upon. In this case the key phrase is washover fan. When tides are high or there is a storm surge, waves wash over the beach into a lagoonal area behind creating washover fans (splays of sand). Such features indicate that areas behind beaches get flooded periodically.
DaveG has an interesting point about historical sealevels at Harlech Castle.

Reply to  Keith
January 27, 2013 11:09 pm

Thanks to you and others who have fed me information .

David Cage
January 27, 2013 11:31 pm

This same idea was put forwards in 2002 but I cannot remember just who it was and like most non AGW articles has totally disappeared from the web world. The original article was based round the full data set for rainfall that appeared recently in a few sites to counter the met office claim that the rainfall this year was a record breaking one. Sadly the climate science profession took any attempts as pattern recognition as the rambling of spanner merchants once they found out the methods originated in engineering not science or pure mathematics academia.

Larry Kirk
January 27, 2013 11:31 pm

@ Keith
“Dave G has an interesting point about historical sea levels at Harlech Castle..”
The same historical sea level fall is evident along much of the Sussex coast: eg. at the South Downs river gap towns of Arundel and Bramber, which were originally Roman and Saxon seaports, but now lie many miles inland, as do the former seaports of Winchelsea and Rye (two of the five historical ‘Cinque Ports’), further east along the Kent coast.
I have never been sure whether this was a result of the stripping of forest from the Sussex Weald, with the eroded soils then building out delta’s and coastal plains from what had previously been stable river estuaries, or due to sea level falls that accompanied post-Roman and post-mediaeval climatic cooling/polar ice cap growth, or due to the fact that, as my high school geology master believed it to be back in 1972, the wealden dome as the final outlying fold of the Alpine Foreland, was still being pushed up as southern Europe nudged its way gently northwards.

David Cage
January 27, 2013 11:38 pm

I forgot to add that i like wandering around historic towns now I have retired and am struck by the number that have plaques showing peak flooding dated around 1600 to 1650 including Abingdon for example. They are nearly all a good three feet above the current so called records.

January 27, 2013 11:59 pm

Latitude says:
January 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm
This has made it easier to go on building on floodplains
swampland in Florida

A great deal of the “swampland” in Florida is more than 100 feet above sea level. It drains VERY quickly when saturated. You never hear of the swamp itself flooding, what you hear about is the “reclaimed” communities in the FLOOD PLAINS being flooded.
Don’t take this wrong, the swamp does rise in level till the gators are sunning by the porch swing, but even during the worst hurricanes I’ve never seen STANDING floods like what happens in England and the flood plains.
Its why there isn’t actually any “swampland” in Florida. We have pockets of mangrove style land in the lowlands that remains wet most the year but the subsoil and rock strata are great at drainage. The southern third is the Everglades, which is a river sixty miles wide… lots of fast drainage.

January 28, 2013 12:55 am

England and Wales precipitation since 1776:
Precipitation variates in waves, and one is due.

Alan the Brit
January 28, 2013 1:55 am

You couldn’t make it up if you tried, could you? As I have said before, deja vu, in the mid to late 20th century here in the UK,, after many decades of flooding from un-managed rivers, streams, etc, poor surface water catchment area management, we finally got our heads & fingers out of our arses & realised that we need to manage rivers properly & efficiently, preserve flood plains, manage our surface water run-off catchment areas, to prevent the kinds of flooding that occurred in the past to reduce costs to business & homes up & down the land. It lasted a relatively short period of around 35 years, then well intentioned privatisation took place with limited provisos in place making the water suppliers legally obliged to supply clean water to homes & businesses, the State sector nolonger obliged to carry out adequate flood prevention assessments & defence construction, at the same time as the PDERU/EUSSR started sucking on the teet of Greenalism in which we are to be forced to use less water & have less storage capacity (against all sensible & logical & rational engineering advice), & suffer the consequences ot easily preventable flooding as punishment for living & trying to manage Gaia’s resources, which whilst not infinite, are plentiful for one & all!!! Thanks Greens, thanks Redwar, thanks FoE, thanks WWF, thanks Sir Jonathan (I am all right Jack cos I is rich) Porritt, thanks Big Al (cos I is even richer) Gore, thanks Sir David (I am ok cos I is a deity), Attenborough, thanks as bunch, NOT! When will we get back to listening to real scientists & engineers, before the Sh1T really does starting hitting the fan?

January 28, 2013 2:21 am

Warmists have inoculated themselves against falsification. No matter what, they have a computer simulation that shows that outcome. If UK gets more drought in the future, they pull out a paper like this one to show it was predicted. If it gets wetter, hey, no problemo there is this one. If winters get warmer there is this one. If winters get colder there is this one…….and so on.

January 28, 2013 2:53 am

I was pondering the decrease in Arctic sea ice in 2007 and 2012, in particular I was wondering whether we would expect to see greatly increased evaporation of Arctic sea water into the atmosphere as a consequence of the reduced ice cover and the increased absorption of incoming sunlight. If this happens, as seems likely, there would be a strong cooling effect on the surface layers of the Arctic combined with increased moisture in the Northern hemisphere generally, perhaps leading to increased precipitation elsewhere. I Googled a bit but couldn’t find any references on the role of evaporative cooling on the Arctic – any ideas?

richard verney
January 28, 2013 3:07 am

Larry Kirk says:
January 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm
Interesting, especially the observation of the loss of arable land which is a point often over looked entirely.
I was one of those who moved to London in the 1980s.
My dad, who had much experience in water management (being head of water supply for one of the large municipal boroughs in the Midlands and previously having been lead engineer on one of the dam projects built in north India/Pakistan after the war in and around indenpendence and partition) , repeatedly told me not to buy a house ‘there’ or ‘there’ whenever I showed him details of new build houses/developments in and around the subburbs of London, advising me that the houses should never have been built there as there will inevitably be future flooding.
My dad was always severely critical of the claims that water shortages in the South was due to climate change and drier conditions, holding instead the veiw that it was due to poor water management and in particular the large increase in population (largely driven through immagration but also migrating from the north to the south) and the failure to build any new reservoirs in the South East to meet the increased demand.
For far too long, climate change has been used as an excuse to cover up poor management of natural resources.
The Met Office and UK Government having, for as long as I can remember, claimed that it is becoming drier due to climate change and therefore we can expect more droughts and hose pipe bans, whereas in practice there has been no statistical significant alteration in the amount of UK rainfall these past 30 or so years; official figures suggest that there has been a very slight increase (but whether that is above margin of error, is anyone’s guess, so too whether a period of 30 or so years is too short a base period against which to extract a base average). It is only now in the past year or 18 months that one is beginning to hear official sources suggesting that cliamate change will lead to wetter conditions in the UK.
The UK is a small island surrounded by water. No matter from which direction the wind blows, the air will always be moist. The topography does not change, eventually warm moist air meets mountains and rises, cools and precipitates. There has in the past and there always will be copious amounts of rainfall in Wales, North West England (the Lake District), Scottish Highlands etc. It is just a question of proper management of this resource. Inevitably there will be some outlier years but due to its geography and the the fact that ocean temperatures are slow to change, it is likely that rainfall (just like CET temperature) will remain fairly stable over the long term (by which I mean averages measured in more than 100 year periods).
I now live in Southern Spain. You see many large bridges built over dried up river plains. Inevitably you question why there are such huge bridges when you cannot even see a trickle of a river. It can be very dry; last year between January and October there may have been only about 6 or so rainy days. But every now and again there can be very heavy rainfall (varies from year to year) and these dried up river plains suddenly become awash with water and it all makes sense.
The UK is now beginning to pay a heavy price for its imprudence in building in flood plains. Indeed, the flood defences in some areas are causing increased flooding to occur in other not so well defended areas which is distorting perception as to the root of the problem. There is a knock on effect in the flood defences that have been adopted and this partly explains why some areas that have not experienced flooding in 60 or 100 or so years, are now experiencing flooding (ie., it is due to other developments in flood plain areas which other developments have flood defences preventing flooding from occuring in the natural and past flood plain area, instead pushing water to areas which have not previously been flood plains). In some areas, the cost of home insurance is prohibitive, There is now a debate whether people who do not live in flood affected areas should subsidise the cost of insurance for those that do since for many home insurance is unaffordable.
Head really ought to roll with respect to Town Planning and water management, but unfortunately there is no accountability in public office.

richard verney
January 28, 2013 3:54 am

Larry Kirk says:
January 27, 2013 at 11:31 pm
Along the Thames (eg The Tower of London and many of the docks) there is much evidence that in the 16th to 18th century sea water level (the Thames is tidal) was higher than today.
Likewise, the Med is full of examples of higher sea water levels in the not so long ago past. Indeed, there are many notable Greek ports that were ports at the height of the Greek civilisation/Minoan period, which are now far inland and far away from the sea.
Some of this may be due in part to isostatic rebound after the ice age but not all.

January 28, 2013 4:25 am

Everybody was shown what’s taking place back here
It was carried out from the same place they carried out this Jet-Stream experiment This was back in the early 90’s It states how the Jet-Stream reacted when the heater was turned on. They even created a reversal and the Jet-Stream was moved south over Britian. So why aren’t we asking more questions regarding Weather Modification And for those that question why they would use this just think how much money is locked up by the insurance industry world wide and with all the money problems governments are having creating weather disasters is a great way to inject cash back into the system through claims A stelthy process used as a bailout package. Australia spent 10 million on 2013 weather modification program (watch the video) and Queensland and N.S.W just got bashed by a cyclone that started in the gulf and moved down the entire east coast with major flooding all the way down and up tp 500 k’s inland. Just about every river system has broken it’s banks When you look at the BOM weather map you see how the cyclone tracked just inland along the coast When a cyclone crosses land the presure usualy rises not this one every time it tried to rise it went straight back down not once but many times Push the start button and watch. Are we just going to sit back and not question this.

January 28, 2013 4:49 am

Here in Wales living next to another Edwardian Castle, It seems as if has been raining for most of the time for 3 years now. It is a climate change aspect that was not predicted until after it had occurred. One of the impacts of this rain is that we have had to modify what food crops we grow. We used to be able to grow crops like sweetcorn, french beans and even tomatoes outside in sheltered areas. This is no longer possible without the use of polytunnels. We now grow more traditional veg which still seem to do well, Cabbages, Parsnips, sprouts and leeks etc. It’s an aspect of what we all may need to do in the longer term. For whatever the reason, the fact remains that climate always changes and is changing rather more rapidly of late than it has done for some time. While this is not the end of the world, we need to recognise it’s impacts and adapt to meet changing needs.

January 28, 2013 5:53 am

UK local authorities must bear a large part of the blame for the increase in flood damage. a developer applies to build on a flood plain (spot the clues in the description) . Planning gets approved because..? Nice new Council Tax income stream (excuse the pun)…
Oh – and new developments must include a proportion of ‘affordable housing’ which is code for ‘cheap’ and therefore just built at ground level on a concrete slab….

Doug Proctor
January 28, 2013 8:39 am

I wonder how the IPCC “consensus” handles non-consensus views such as this. Once you have arrived at a consensus, does that mean that alternate views are “contrarian”, and have no place in your consideration?
The Unique Solution Syndrome concept says that the IPCC will proceed exactly in this way. The pile of papers has been determined: on the left are the “correct” papers, those that are to be used in AR5, AR6 etc. On the right are the “incorrect” papers, the ones to be dismissed because, by the precept that once the truth is known, all views that are inconsistent with the truth must be wrong. It does not matter how large the righthand pile becomes relative to the left. The truth is not determined by volume.
And there is the paradox. “Volume” is how one determines consensus. But in a worldview where consensus determines “truth”, further consideration is not about consensus at all, but about truth. What earlier would have been considered in determining consensus is now considered relative to the DETERMINED TRUTH. “Volume”, i.e. majority opinion, no longer has the value it did when first used, and, in fact, has negative value if a large amount of opinion rises to challenge the consensus. Conspiratorial nuttiness and malfeance abounds for thoughts that previously were legitimate points of discussion.
We are in interesting times. During the last 25 years we have witnessed the creation of dogma, of a meme, that now struggles for surival. How this plays out will be very interesting.

January 28, 2013 10:03 am

The pattern of changes in extremes uncovered by the research matches the predictions made in a number of climate models. Dr Fowler, author of the study at Newcastle University, claims ‘the changes in the 40 year period are consistent with the trend we would expect from global warming’.
But Philip Eden, one of the country’s leading and most respected climatologists, argues that the claims could be misleading. The problem, he says, is down to the short period of rainfall statistics analysed.
He claims that by taking a much longer time period, for example the whole of the 20th century, the frequency of high intensity rainfall events that we have witnessed in the past 30 years is not unusual.
The eras of heaviest summer downpours have actually coincided with cooler summers, not warmer summers, in particular 1912-1931, and again from 1948-1969.
In autumn and winter, downpours are closely linked with the strength of westerlies, which were very low in the 1960s, the start point of the study, and reached a peak between 1988 and 2002, he continued.
That said there does seem to have been more incidences of flooding in the last couple of decades.
The relationship between Lamb weather types and long-term changes in flood frequency, River Eden, UK

January 28, 2013 10:11 am

Over Christmas I did a lot of walking with my dogs across rural Hampshire.
I noticed something for the first time, or rather, something registered for the first time.
Many fields have drainage ditches in them. Most are deep and all were full. I’ve walked over these fields many times but had never really noticed the ditches until now. Somebody must have made them and they must have been made as deep as they are in response to the conditions prevailing at the time.
This tells me that the rain we suffered last year in England is not unprecedented and is expected, at least by the farmers that made the ditches. All part of natural variability.
Been up too my knees in water in some fields this year. There’s a name for them. Yes, that’s it: water meadows.

Phil Richardson
January 28, 2013 12:01 pm

In my hometown (Worcester, England) has a record of high floods going back several hundred years engraved on a gate house that leads from the cathedral precincts to the river. Just downstream of that town is Tewksbury that got badly flooded in 2008, follow the link for a photo of it. Most of the old stuff is high and dry whilst the modern in underwater.

Melbourne Resident
January 28, 2013 2:01 pm

This is no surprise – if you want a good history on flooding in UK go read Doe’s book:
Doe, R. 2006 “Extreme Floods – a history in a changing climate” Sutton Publishing.

January 28, 2013 7:05 pm

Some folks up above wondered if the sea level was higher in the past. The answer is a bit more convoluted than I like, but looks to be ‘mostly yes’.

The sea level has always been changing, he said, due to various climatic factors. Studies show that sea level was 100 meters below the present sea level 15,000 years BP, rose steadily and was 60-70 metres below present sea level 10,000 years BP. In the next 1500 years it reached to 40 metres below present sea level, came at par with the present sea level around 7000 years BP, then rose by five metres in the next 1000 years.
Thereafter, there was a gradual fall and sea level came down to 20-30 metres below present sea level about 3500 years BP when Dwarka is presumed to have been constructed. Again levels rose to above 5 metres present sea level about 1000 years BP. In the last 1000 years, the sea level has come down to the present position and is now stationary, but may rise in future.

so looks like ‘sea level’ wanders around a lot all on its own…

Larry Kirk
January 29, 2013 5:14 am

I should add to my above comments that Jakarta, a truly monsoonal city, averages 1,700mm of rainfall a year, most of that between November and April, peaking at over 300m a month in January and February.
London on the other hand has an average of about 600mm of rainfall a year, spread pretty evenly throughout the year, though with a wetter period of over 80mm per month average ‘precipitation’ during October, November, December and January.
So London has some way to go before you find yourself wading across the foyer of the Dorchester Hotel because the long lost Westbourne River has burst its banks at the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

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