A New Kind Of Rain

By Paul Homewood

Verity Jones, over at Digging in the Clay, reminds me of an interview with Lord Smith, the politician formerly known as Chris Smith, in the Sunday Telegraph.

According to Smith, a former Environment Secretary and now head of the Environment Agency

Last year taught us that weather patterns are getting more extreme,” says Lord Smith. “If you’d said to me a decade ago that we’d have a year in which the first three months would be facing a serious prospect of very severe drought, but we’d then have nine months of the wettest period since records began, I’d have just said, ‘No, that sort of extreme weather does not happen here in Britain.’ Increasingly, it does.

The weather is highly unpredictable and presents new challenges, he says, adding: “We are experiencing a new kind of rain.”

It may sound like an excuse from a railway company, but Lord Smith insists that it is true. “Instead of rain sweeping in a curtain across the country, we are getting convective rain, which sits in one place and just dumps itself in a deluge over a long period of time. From the point of view of filling up the rivers and the drains, that is quite severe.”

According to Wikipedia,

Convection occurs when the Earth’s surface,mainly in the equatorial region, within a conditionally unstable, or moist atmosphere, becomes heated more than its surroundings, leading to significant evaporation . Convective rain, or showery precipitation, occurs from convective clouds, e.g., cumulonimbus or cumulus congestus. It falls as showers with rapidly changing intensity. Convective precipitation falls over a certain area for a relatively short time, as convective clouds have limited horizontal extent. Most precipitation in the tropics appears to be convective.

You will note that there is an immediate disconnect – Smith claims the rain falls “over a long period of time”, not the “relatively short time” defined in Wikipedia. There is, of course, a second problem. Summer temperatures last year in the UK were well below normal, so convection should have been much reduced.



Nevertheless, if Smith is right, his claims should be borne out by the monthly rainfall statistics for June to August, as logically that is when the convective effect should be at its greatest. It is also the summer months that have seen rainfall trends on the increase in recent years.



So let’s take a look at the England & Wales Rainfall Series, that is maintained by the Met Office and goes back to 1766. The following graphs show the monthly rainfall totals for each of the three months.




The rankings for 2012 were :-

June – 1st (out of 247)

July – 33rd

August – 80th

So the following points stand out.

  • Even though the wettest June occurred last year, June 1860 and 1768 were almost as wet.
  • Although wetter than average, July and August 2012 were by no means exceptional months, when placed in the historical context.
  • In none of the months is there any indication that rainfall in recent years has been unusually high, or is exhibiting any particular trend.
  • The summer, as a whole, was the wettest since 1912. However, this has occurred largely because all three months were wetter than normal, with no really dry interludes in between. This simply reflects the inherent variability of English weather, the coincidence of events and the workings of the jet stream, rather than any deep climatic changes.

It is not surprising that Smith attempts to connect last year’s rainfall with climate change, particularly when he is responsible for the UK’s flood defences and the problems experienced last year. However, if there was any basis to his claims, the monthly charts would show evidence of it. They don’t.


I thought it worthwhile to repost the Met Office’s summary for June 2012.

The weather was dominated by low pressure over or close to the UK, with associated weather fronts. These brought rather cool days, some very large rainfall totals and also some strong winds early in the month. There was an almost complete absence of warm, settled spells.

The UK mean temperature was 0.7 °C below the 1981–2010 average and it was the coolest June since 1991. Daily maximum temperatures were well below normal, particularly in many central and eastern areas, with few warm days.


Not exactly tropical!


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Rud Istvan

Poor fact challenged politicians. The same analysis was done for the US over the past century, picking both local regions (Lincoln Nebraska because of importance for crops like corn) and the lower 48. Same result. You can get it in the climate chapter of The Arts of Truth. Someone on Asia is hopefully doing the same thing. Eventually facts will wear them down. Illegitimi non carborundum!

Bryan A

well at least it is a Moist Cold


The key phrase is
‘According to Smith, a former Environment Secretary and now head of the Environment Agency’
Enough said.

Rhoda R

I think they just grab a term out of their word-hoard and, if it sounds scary and sciency enough (and not too well understood), run with it.


There is some incredibly stuff printed these days…


But is it the wrong kind of rain?


h2o gas rises, ineluctibly, due to buoyancy- regardless of relative temperature, does it not?
until you condense it, it’s headed for the stratosphere, is it not?
nobody is drowning, so can he stop blowing smoke already?

Don Keiller

Chris Smith was always an intellectual lightweight.
Like so many politicians these days, they get their only training in school and university
debating societies.
Basically where those who have no mates and can’t play sport end up.
However these nerds have the last laugh (unfortunately for us).

Luther Wu

Bryan A says:
February 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm
well at least it is a Moist Cold

Chuck L

Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts!


Their ‘ wrong type of snow’ or rain or sunshine is just another adaptation of ‘snow job’.


Here in California we suffered through a terrible drought over the past 8 days only to have torrential rains on Saturday the likes of which we had not seen in 2 weeks. This is clear evidence of climate disruption. /s

David L

So seemlessly they have morphed the meme from increasing temperatures to extreme events.


It’s the stuff that makes ’em look foolish what makes it a “new kind of rain”. Easier to invent something completely outlandish than to own up to the fact that your job is worthless.
No wonder “Great Britain” is no longer great.

Alex H

“The weather is highly unpredictable and presents new challenges” – I like how you can now use the idea of ‘unpredictable weather’ to cover up for the fact that you’ve failed to accurately predict it. Makes it sound more sinister


I wrote this last week, before the announcement — but I didn’t expect it to be proven so correct, so soon. Original at http://religiousatrocities.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/uk-a-meteorological-officers-lament/
Dedicated to the UK Meteorological Office.
To the tune of ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean
A long long time ago
I’d look out the window and predict the
Weather for the day.
If I saw clouds I’d call for rain,
If not I’d say “It’s fine again.”
And folks were fairly happy
Either way.
But lately we’ve been automated,
Our good intentions are frustrated.
All of our predictions
Turn out to be fictions.
Last week I said it would be dry.
It nearly made me want to cry
When floods demolished Hay-on-Wye,
The day the forecast died.
I started singing: “Bunk, bunk, the programs are junk.
They’ve been written by a kitten or a twelve-year-old punk.
The modeller’s a toddler, or perhaps he was drunk.
And now our reputation is sunk.”
Now, if you don’t have any skills
And you’re hepped up on happy pills,
No way to make a living,
You’ll find climate science forgiving.
You don’t have to get it right,
Say day is night and black is white,
The snow clouds that are forming?
Blame them on global warming!
When you have a CPU,
Why not let it think for you?
Although sometimes its thoughts aren’t true..
The day the forecast died.
I started singing: “Bunk, bunk, the programs are junk.
They’ve been written by a kitten or a twelve-year-old punk.
The modeller’s a toddler, or perhaps he was drunk.
And now our reputation is sunk.
Now our reputation is sunk.”
The taxpayers are getting mad,
With all the money that we’ve had,
They’re uttering maledictions
On computerised predictions.
They just don’t seem to understand,
The finest data in the land,
Can’t make predictions work
When weather goes berserk.
So here’s the burden of my song,
Our models were right all along,
It’s the real world that got it wrong!
The day the forecast died.
I started singing: “Bunk, bunk, the programs are junk.
They’ve been written by a kitten or a twelve-year-old punk.
The modeller’s a toddler, or perhaps he was drunk.
And now our reputation is sunk.…
Now our reputation is sunk.”


If this new kind of rain freezes, will it become rotten ice?

The wrong kind of rain is that which doesn’t fall in line behind the grant-hippies’ models, esp. following any period during which one of their gurus has pontificated on weather not being the same as climate.


What a lot of twaddle he’s spouting!

Peter Miller

Chris Smith is well known as having come from the shallow end of the gene pool.
Also, environmental agencies are like cess pits, the big lumps always float to the top.
I am sure he thought what he said was clever and insightful, when in reality it was the exact opposite, broadcasting to everyone his ignorance of all matters to do with climate.
“We are experiencing a new kind of rain” is a statement totally deserving contempt and on par with British Rail’s famous comment of a few years to explain rail chaos being the result of “the wrong kind of snow.”


maybe there needs to be an equally edifying list of types of rain?
i’m inspired to make a start.
cowa = rain that falls upward
mowa = rain that represents a negative externality and must be taxed
powa = rain that represents a positive externality that must be subsidized by a new tax
babawawa = anthropogenic rain that has been interviewed on 60 minutes
ginwa = rain that is mashed and fermented into an intoxicating press release.
fukwa = rain that is used in torrents to drown the voice of reason
bulwa = rain sold to the gullible as wine
werewa = rain that is wetter than we thought but only on full moons
malwa = rain that is punishment for sinfulness
williwa = rain that ends badly with much tedious and tendentious parsing of the picayune


The rain is associated with the low pressure regions because that is where the atmosphere is most unstable. The rain has very little to do with the surface temperature. One must investigate the reasons for persistant low pressure in a particular region to find the reasons for higher than normal rainfall.

Olaf Koenders

It’s just a slow attempt at reconditioning our thoughts and the very meaning of words to establish what they say is truth. “new normal”, “different kind of rain” is an attempt to imply something isn’t right.
Unfortunately, the sheeple they intend to deceive never fact-check, they just parrot popular opinion, or whatever they’ve been TOLD is popular opinion, regardless the data stating otherwise.


If it was drier than normal he would still pull the bunny from the hat and claim extreme weather. What did the Met Office forecast again last year for the first half of the year? FAIL. The whole thing is a green scam.
PS,. I love his pose. Chin on hand, deeeeeeeep thoughts from a superior thinker as opposed to us Neanderthal deniers. Oh well, only time will tell. 😉

Bruce Cobb

C02’s magical powers are truly amazing. Apparently, what it has done during the past 16 years is to stop putting it’s energy to work warming the planet and instead concentrating on producing “extreme weather”, and even new types of weather. It truly is history in the making.

spangled drongo

Isn’t it great to have long term data like that to see off the wankers.
Our recent floods in eastern Australia have the media giving increasing exposure to people who say things like, “I’ve lived here for 15 years and never seen anything like it”.


“new kind of” is the latest meme. It is part of the ever-changing, shape-shifting global calamity gravy train. For example, in Australia we have been told that there is now a “new kind of” heat, after a fairly typical summer heatwave.
Do they get together and discuss these shifting terminological inexactitudes, or does it just happen by mitosis?


A 2012 report on flood risk published by the Chartered Insurance Institute highlights the stupidity of the UK’s development planning since 1954:
“A growing understanding of engineering and natural systems, combined with a long spell of relatively few UK floods between 1954 and 1990, seems to have made planners more confident that they could use floodplains in ways which would have seemed foolish to previous generations.
“With hindsight and a growing awareness of the uncertainty inherent in extreme flooding events, these decisions now appear unwise (Cook: 2010). Insurers are well aware that the properties at the greatest risk of flooding are often those built during this post-war period. It is only now that there are moves for floodplain restoration in areas such as Berkshire, Conwy Valley, Dorset, and Hampshire.
“It is particularly unfortunate that a combination of factors has meant that many older properties which were once safe from flood are now exposed, due to new factors such as:
“-changing land practices to increase arable production, including the digging of field drains and
-construction of embankments to protect fields which used to store flood water;
-covering the flood plain with impermeable roads and buildings thus reducing flood storage;
-overloading sewers and watercourses by new urban development; or
-failing to clean sewers, watercourses, gully pots or culverts clogged by fly-tipping due to the Waste Directive.”
1954 is an interesting start date. As mentioned before on WUWT 1953 was a bad year for floods:
“On the evening of 31 January 1953, the Kent coast was hit by a storm surge which had swept down the eastern coast of England causing death and destruction.
“High tides, strong winds and low air pressure combined to raise sea levels in the North Sea and send a storm surge with up to 20ft (6m) waves south along the coast.
“Sea defences were breached and water surged through the streets of coastal towns flooding thousands of low-lying homes.
“About 5,000 acres of farmland was covered by the sea water, and thousands of animals died in the flooding.
“Death toll was estimated at 307 in English coastal towns and villages
More than 177 people were lost at sea in fishing boats
About 130 people died in the Irish Channel ferry Princess Victoria
In Holland and Belgium more than 3,000 people were killed
Coastal towns in Norfolk, Suffolk , Essex, Kent and Lincolnshire were devastated by sea water
Thousands of animals drowned
Tracts of farmland were made infertile by salt water”
So much for pretending they didn’t have hindsight.

Another Gareth

That’s Lord Smith of GLOBE International (Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment)
“The Global Legislators’ Organisation (GLOBE) supports national parliamentarians to develop and agree common legislative responses to the major challenges posed by sustainable development.
GLOBE supports legislators through national chapters providing economic and policy support to develop legislation and monitor how it is implemented.
With headquarters in London, offices in Beijing, Brussels, Mexico City, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and members in 70 countries, GLOBE is reshaping international politics on sustainable development.”
Smith is also a member of the Green Fiscal Commission.
“The objective of the Green Fiscal Commission (GFC) is to prepare the ground for a significant programme of green fiscal reform in the UK, in terms of both assembling the evidence base for such a reform, and raising stakeholder and public awareness of it. The GFC will achieve this through:”
Note the separation between stakeholders and the ‘public’. I find it peculiar that in these kinds of organisations the public are never considered a suitable stakeholder. We pay for it all yet are not included in the decision making process.
Neither position merited inclusion in his Environment Agency biography.


KISS:Keep it simple stupid. Tropical storms are driven by warm air rising. The warmer the air the more energy it has to drive the storm. The energy in the air is directly related to its absolute temperature. A one degree C increase at 32 C (90F) would result in an increase in energy of 1/(273+32) X100 = .3%. Since kinetic engergy is a function of velocity squared, then the wind speed increase from 1 degree of global warming would be .16%. So yes, in theory, storms would get more severe, but it is by a trivial amount. What am I missing?

It wasn’t me, (though I confess the thought did cross my mind.)
(I’m referring to the fist slugging Lord Smith on the chin, in the picture.) (Which explains his dazed look.) (Perhaps he was hitting himself?) (For all the amazingly incorrect forecasts, perhaps?)


Kids just won’t know what normal rain is.

Dr. John M. Ware

Here in central Virginia we had a sort of late-summer drought a few years ago (2004? 5? not sure), and then Tropical Storm Gaston came through (“After you, Alphonse!” “Oh, by no means! After you, Gaston!”) and sat over the Richmond metro until it emptied itself. Here at the house we got 16″ of rain in four hours. I partly floated home from work. It was my job to decide, that late evening, whether to continue to have classes or to dismiss. I went at first by 6 p.m. news predictions that the rain would come down heavily but move quickly on out, so I kept classes in session until I got a call from a student trying to get to class who had to be rescued from rising flood waters on a state highway. At this point, thinking of my own long trip home as well as problems likely for my students and faculty, I formally dismissed the evening classes. The drive home was unbelievable, sort of like driving through one of those car-wash machines, only in my case for 30 miles, much of it on country roads, with no visibility, huge overwashes of rapidly-moving water across the roads, and a constant roar of rain pounding the roof. I had already soaked myself thoroughly getting into the car (which developed some leaks on the way home that I have not seen since), and just getting from car to house–maybe 30 feet–I was totally soaked again. An hour later the rain stopped, and an hour after that the moon and stars were out. Parts of downtown Richmond were deeply flooded, but our property, which has a Civil War trench as its eastern boundary, took the water as a nice drink. We got four months’ worth of rain in an evening, and a story to tell for a long time. Amazingly, we did not lose power.


@corio37 says:
February 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm
I wrote this last week, before the announcement — but I didn’t expect it to be proven so correct, so soon. Original at http://religiousatrocities.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/uk-a-meteorological-officers-lament/
Spot on! Thanks.


Crazily, in Seattle we did have a new kind of rain, ending nearly a week ago. The U. of WA meteorologist was on the radio saying that the rain was falling as a misty drizzle from water in low-lying clouds rather than the typical pattern of ice crystals falling from higher clouds and melting on their way down. He called it warm rain and said it was unusual for it to have persisted for so long.


Off topic, but I notice that the NORSEX sea ice data hasn’t been updated since 15 January. Anybody know what’s going on there?


Hmmm…Lord Smith, formerly Chris Smith. Maybe I’m just uninformed (being from the U.S.) or I’m overly pessimistic (more likely)… but I suspect Prince Charles had a hand in getting this guy his “lord-dom” (or whatever it’s called).

john robertson

He said a new kind of rain?. Or is every failure of those beloved computer models giving the faithful a new kind of pain?
Is the good lord getting nervous?
Truth and exposure cause scammers all kinds of pain.


“The weather is highly unpredictable and presents new challenges…”
Judging from the photo, the veritable Lord has the thousand yard stare of a the disingenuous.
As for the challenges …the challenge of another transparent money grab, the challenge of a model that is predictive, the challenge of meeting a direct gaze, the challenge of convincing the ever growing number of unconvinced….life is tough in the ivory tower.


My old fashioned barometer is more accurate than some of the weather predictions. Maybe their barometers are next to the central heating unit? LOL


“The weather is highly unpredictable…” but you should reduce your standard of living by reducing your carbon dioxide output because our predictions say so.

lurker passing through, laughing

The funniest part of this sort of AGW desperation is that the hypesters think they are being clever.
Everything has to be reinvented to support their kookiness.


Another one who is using the climate change bag of all tricks to mask his own ignorance… and MSM help him peddle his stuff. Typical.


Rain is … what rain does.
Fool !

Crispin in Waterloo

It seems to me Smith got off to a misdirected start: He said that the prediction was for drought and the reality was heavy rain. He blames this on the suddenly changing weather patterns. Why does he not blame his surprise on the obviously useless weather forecasting service?? It is not that the weather was completely unprecedented, after all it happened previously only 100 years ago. What was unprecedented was blaming human CO2 emissions instead of a useless weather prognostication ‘service’ for the failure of the summer to be warm and dry as they vainly imagined.
It is unlikely to change, isn’t it, if they keep funnelling money into a bottomless pit of ineptitude. When it comes to the Met Office getting things totally wrong for a whole season, you can bet on three months more of the same with a 30% chance of intermittent lucky coincidence.

a new kind of rain? why, it’s CHUBBY RAIN!!!! “Got you, Sucka!!!!”
okay, you gotta be a fan of “Bowfinger”.

Richard G

One day it started raining and it didnt quit for 4 months
we’ve been through every kind of rain there is
a little bit of stinging rain
and big ol fat rain
rain that flew in sideways
and sometimes rain seemed to come straight up from underneath- Forest Gump

My under developed inner statistician wonders the correlation between green hair and the belief that convection is a new kind or rain anywhere.

The beauty of “extreme weather” is the new weather records are being set all the time – thus the weather must be getting more extreme. No one stops to think the reason we see new records is because we haven’t been measuring weather very long in geological terms. Eventually if you throw a coin long enough it will come up heads 5, 6, 7, or more times in a row. Does 10 heads in a row mean the coin has become “extreme”? Or is it simply the nature of the coin? How do we know that global warming (or the current global lull) is anything more than the luck of the toss?