No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office’s most senior experts
One of the Met Office’s most senior experts yesterday made a dramatic intervention in the climate change debate by insisting there is no link between the storms that have battered Britain and global warming.
Mat Collins, a Professor in climate systems at Exeter University, said the storms have been driven by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual.
Professor Collins told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’
His statement carries particular significance because he is an internationally acknowledged expert on climate computer models and forecasts, and his university post is jointly funded by the Met Office.
Prof Collins is also a senior adviser – a ‘co-ordinating lead author’ – for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His statement appears to contradict Met Office chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo.
Last weekend, she said ‘all the evidence suggests that climate change has a role to play’ in the storms.
Prof Collins made clear that he believes it is likely global warming could lead to higher rainfall totals, because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water. But he said this has nothing to do with the storm conveyor belt.
He said that when the IPCC was compiling its Fifth Assessment Report on climate change last year, it discussed whether warming might affect the jet stream. But, he went on, ‘there was very low confidence that climate change has any effect on the jet stream getting stuck’. In the end, the possibility was not even mentioned in the report.
h/t to “Jabba the Cat”