By Paul Homewood
The Met Office have now issued the precipitation stats for last month, so what do they tell us about the winter as a whole in England, where the floods have caused such havoc? (I am concentrating on England for this reason, although there is a section on the UK as whole, which shows a similar picture)
(I will also be devoting a separate post to the situation in Somerset.)
After all of the hype and repeatedly proclaimed “possible links to climate change”, we find that December to February rainfall, although the highest since 1910, was just a measly 3mm more than recorded in 1914/15. If this winter’s record rainfall really has been the result of global warming, as has been claimed, is that really the only difference it has made, 3mm?
And has this 3-month spell been unprecedented? Nope, not even remotely so, I am afraid. As I have been pointing out for the last few weeks, there was a much wetter period during the winter of 1929/30. But, not only that, it also turns out that there were wetter periods in 2001/01 and 1960/61.
Let’s run through the numbers.
|Nov 1929 to Jan 1930||455.1|
|Oct 1960 to Dec 1960||396.3|
|Oct 2000 to Dec 2000||442.1|
|Dec 2013 to Feb 2014||395.6|
Of course, February is a short month, so this could account for about 6mm of the difference on a pro rata basis, but even then this winter’s precipitation is still much less than in 1929/30 and 2000.
Moreover, in 1929/30 particularly, but also in other earlier winters, the unusually wet weather extended for four months, and not just three. The November to February period was also much wetter in 1914/15.
|Nov 1914 to Feb 1915||495.6|
|Oct 1929 to Jan 1930||567.2|
|Oct 1960 to Jan 1961||500.8|
|Sep 2000 to Dec 2000||557.0|
|Nov 2013 to Feb 2014||463.0|
The table below compares 1929/30 and 2013/14 on a month by month basis. As can be seen, both November and December 1929 were considerable wetter than any month this winter. It was only the exceptionally dry month of February 1930 that kept the “winter” total relatively low for that year. This dry month, of course, did not make the preceding four months any less wet.
The British Rainfall publication for 1930 makes the comment:
Although these figures refer to the entire British Isles, this would appear to indicate that October 1876 to January 1877 was also much wetter than the last four months.
As it has been the southern half of the country which has been particularly badly affected by flooding, we need to take a separate look at rainfall totals there.
As it turns out, the data shows a similar picture to England as a whole, with 1929/30 again being much wetter, both for 3-month totals:
|Oct 1929 to Dec 1929||457.7|
|Oct 2000 to Dec 2000||431.6|
|Dec 2013 to Feb 2014||404.8|
And for 4-month totals:
|Nov 1914 to Feb 1915||481.8|
|Oct 1929 to Jan 1930||562.9|
|Oct 1960 to Jan 1961||493.3|
|Oct 2000 to Jan 2001||509.5|
|Nov 2013 to Feb 2014||471.8|
As is the case in England, 1929/30 was much wetter over the UK as a whole, for 3-month and 4-month totals.
|Nov 1929 to Jan 1930||554.0|
|Dec 2013 to Feb 2014||531.7|
|Oct 1929 to Jan 1930||706.0|
|Nov 2013 to Feb 2014||624.2|
While this winter has been exceptionally wet, there have been other years, in the records since 1910, which have seen much wetter spells than we have endured this winter. Undoubtedly, the winter of 1929/30 stands out as the one truly exceptional run of wet weather.
Finally, it’s worth looking at this comment in the British Rainfall publication for 1929.
It appears that the record rainfall, from October onwards, had been preceded by a record dry spell. In those days, they had the sense to realise that this was natural variation. If it were to happen again nowadays, there would no doubt be a conference to try to blame it all on global warming!
All of this leaves one question. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no mention at all of 1929/30, or the other years, when this winter’s weather has been discussed by the Met Office. It may be that such a mention would not do their agenda any good, but surely the public, who fund the Met Office via their taxes, are entitled to all of the facts, presented in an impartial and transparent fashion.
All data is from the Met Office