Rainfall & Floods – Observations More Reliable Than Climate Models

New GWPF Briefing Paper –GWPF_headerPress Release 10/10/14

London, 10 October: A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation reviews the scientific literature on rainfall and floods and finds little evidence that there have been significant changes in recent years and little support for claims that they will become worse in future.

Despite claims to the contrary, there has been no significant change in rainfall trends in recent years both at global and UK levels. It remains very difficult to make strong claims about any changes there have been because of high natural variability in rainfall patterns, particularly in the UK.

Rainfall is a particularly difficult area for climate models, which have limited ability to recreate what is seen in the real world. Since these climate models are the main basis of claims that extreme rainfall and flooding events are being adversely affected by man-made global warming and that rainfall will become worse in the future, policymakers should treat such modelling with extreme caution.

Author Andrew Montford said, “We are constantly bombarded with insinuations that storms and floods are caused by or ‘linked to’ climate change.”

“In reality these claims are usually based on climate models, which have a demonstrable inability to tell us anything reliable about rainfall. The scientific evidence shows that a simple extrapolation of rainfall averages over time can give better rainfall predictions than climate models,” he added.

Rainfall & Floods – Observations More Reliable Than Climate Models

Full paper (pdf)

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Joel O’Bryan
October 10, 2014 10:07 am

GCM-based climate change associated effects is a “It’s turtles all the way down” style argument.

October 10, 2014 10:09 am

When last I looked, the dynamics of weather were driven more by the thermodynamics of energy differences between regions than the absolute energy content of any single region. Perhaps no more so than when there is a phase change of something involved.

Janice Moore
October 10, 2014 10:11 am

A model is only a guess.
Data IS.
To the babbling of the false priest, “Tomorrow may never come,”
the Earth responds with, “Silence! Behold, the rising Sun.”
Good show, GWPF to make a point that, while obvious, is CLEARLY necessary in this godless, neo-pagan, age where belief in CO2 fairies is widespread.

Reply to  Janice Moore
October 10, 2014 10:51 am

“A model is only a guess.”
At the cost to the taxpayer these MMORPG games should not be limited to government workers.

Reply to  Paul in Sweden
October 10, 2014 1:23 pm

But that will mean my ‘three-penn’orth’ (and I’m new to MMORPGs!) will be – as it was when Vill, DickyD & Upstill and I did two weeks (I think) of forecasts, to our class, aged 8 or 9 – that today “will be the same as yesterday”.
Us against the Met Office, still on the Air Ministry roof. And pretty much a tie.
About 1963/2 – ish!
Dame Julia should do better now – fifty years later.
Provided her squillion shilling computer sticks to two or three days.
Here in the UK, guessing what he weather will be in a month is a mug’s game. It could be anything, probably including locusts.
Auto – not even guessing at tomorrow’s WX.
Let alone November 5th’s . . . . . . .

john karajas
Reply to  Paul in Sweden
October 11, 2014 1:19 am

So what does MMORPG mean exactly?

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Paul in Sweden
October 11, 2014 8:27 am

A quick reminder to all that when using acronyms, please define the acronym the first time it’s used. Not everyone will have the specialized knowledge that you may be taking for granted.
MMORPG – Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
I believe Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is the most successful game, and charges a monthly subscription to play. There are some web based games like Clash of Clans, Forge of Empires which are free to play, and use in-game upgrade marketing to make their revenues. Server based Flash video games like Candy Crush are NOT MMORPGs, as the game play is solitary.
Please understand that the term was used a ironically as a joke. Clever! But while there may be a few similarities, MMORPG is not a good fit to describe large general circulation models (GCM) of the Earth’s climate.

October 10, 2014 10:24 am

If you live in a flood plain, it doesn’t much matter what the frequency of the flooding might be. Every now and then, you’re going to have to pack up and head for the hills and hope your house is still there when the waters subside.
Current weather models are sufficient to tell people when trouble is coming. Even with perfect climate models, I don’t see any value-added knowing you’re going to have to flee 6-8 times next decade instead of the typical 3-4 times you are used to.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  H.R.
October 10, 2014 10:36 am

getting more federally backed flood insurance is strong reason to care if the prognostications are believed.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 10, 2014 12:23 pm

See george e. smith’s comment below. Apparently, FEMA doesn’t base their rates on prognostications or reality.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
October 10, 2014 1:28 pm

So – they use seaweed, and unicorn entrails – at least at New Moon?
Heaven alone knows what they use t the end of the Financial Year.
Guesses, anyone?
Mod – guess what – it slipped out. /Sarc.
Sorry – I’m sure the use chicken or hydra entrails really. /Slightly Smaller & Slighter Sarc.

October 10, 2014 10:33 am

This is sort of OT, but a good opportunity to mention this. Americans (including puerto Rico) and Canadians can log their precip measurements at at CoCoRaHS, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. They offer a little training and information about rain gauge placement, members are expected to use the CoCoRaHS-approved rain gauge and post data on a best-effort basis, ideally at 0700 each day.
The organisation was after a fatal flood in Fort Collins, CO from a thunderstorm small enough to miss the NWS stations. The CoCoRaHS data is used by hydrologic folks and even by the NWS.

Reply to  Ric Werme
October 10, 2014 11:01 am

Or you can use this or one like it if you have it:
rainfall, watershed height, etc. real, honest, unadjusted data. what a concept.

Reply to  kenw
October 10, 2014 1:35 pm

. . . “real, honest, unadjusted data. what a concept”
Phenomenally correct.
Can you tell Chicago licence [US – ‘License’] plates?
Just askin’. Just askin’?
Do be sensible, now, as one or two of the Hockey Teamsters have suggested ice-bucketing off-thread folk like you and me – if I understand their posts correctly.
I’m a bum boatie – but do be A Lert. Your country NEEDS Lerts [sliglhtly older than them thar’ hills. Sorry].

Janice Moore
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 10, 2014 2:17 pm

Oh, Auto, lol, thank you for all the laughs above (below?). Humor is not merely a luxury on WUWT — we truth tellers NEED laughter to keep up our spirits. Warriors rarely falter for lack of physical strength; they will keep going until their dying breath
as long as they have:
Never despair, dear science truth people (with so many great comments above/below, H.R., et. al.)!
In the end,
Truth wins — EVERY time.

Bob B.
October 10, 2014 10:44 am

“…policymakers should treat such modelling with extreme caution.”
Good use of the word “extreme”.

October 10, 2014 10:54 am

“extreme caution” … Yes, keep away from them.

October 10, 2014 11:02 am

The truly amazing thing is that it was actually necessary to publish such a conclusion. Measurements are better than models. What a shocking surprise.

george e. smith
October 10, 2014 11:03 am

Wow ! who could have guessed that looking out the window and observing the rainfall, is more believable than getting on your ipad/ped/pid/pod/pud, and running climate models.

Janice Moore
Reply to  george e. smith
October 10, 2014 11:08 am

Hi, George Smith!
lol, good one… and that reminded me of your sister (because of your attempt to get a laptop computer to her). How is she? How did the computer issue work out?
I hope (and pray) all is well with her.
Praying re: Junior and school, too… and for a good career for him — how’s he doing?
Take care,

george e. smith
Reply to  Janice Moore
October 10, 2014 2:01 pm

Thanks Janice,
Sadly she went to the big travel agency in the sky. The computer reconnected her to her worldwide friends, for a frenzied five months, but in the end the battle was just too much.
As for Junior, this is the end of his first week of a real job (part time) working for a large computer software and hardware and video game company, which he is enjoying immensely. And they fixed my computer too. I now have a much improved regard for that company (unrelated to hiring junior).

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
October 10, 2014 2:10 pm

Oh, Dear Mr. Smith,
I am very sorry for your loss. You were quite close, it appeared to me. You did so much to make her final days on earth as pleasant as they could be with your faithful visits, and the computer… .
VERY GLAD to hear such good news about your son.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. Much appreciated.
With heartfelt sympathy,
P.S. Re: the dry lake, if the county tax assessor is taxing you for having “waterfront property” — get down to the courthouse and get it straightened out… oh, brother…. .

Leo Smith
Reply to  george e. smith
October 10, 2014 11:56 pm

who could have guessed that looking out the window and observing the rainfall, is more believable than getting on your ipad/ped/pid/pod/pud, and running climate models?
Very few, judging by the people one meets who live in houses with the shades down, and spend more time in front of a computer or TV screen or in an office in front of another computer screen, than they ever do ‘outside’.
For these people ‘outside’ is a scary, alien, dangerous environment that is best left to wild animals, and seen only through the politically corrected spectacles of a Wildlife documentary.

Sam Hall
October 10, 2014 11:13 am

‘Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful’ -George E. P. Box
The IPCC models are not useful since they don’t match observations for any part of climate

Reply to  Sam Hall
October 10, 2014 11:20 am

IMO the models are useful since they clearly show that CO2 is not the control knob on climate. The GCMs are based on that assumption and designed to show that hypothesis, but since they have been so wrong for so long, they make it clear that, in the immortal words of the late, great, real climate scientist Reid Bryson, “‘You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide”.
But as predictive tools upon which to base public policy, the models are indeed worse than worthless, as has been stated here.

george e. smith
October 10, 2014 11:15 am

I have a big house on a piece of land, and the house floor is four feet above the ground. And by ground, I mean the whole place for 20 miles in any direction, is laser leveled, including the curvature of the earth, so you can flood the whole 1200 square miles with just one inch of water, Except the moment the “deposit, is identified as real H2O, somebody will lay claim to it, and ship it off to the southern California desterts, to water all the golf courses.
But I have to buy flood insurance, even though my house is isolated from everywhere else by a moat, that is part of the canal, that will ship the water to LA, so any water that lands on my land runs into the moat and off to Mojave, and Palm Springs.
Well the problem is my house is on the shore of Tulare Lake, which is the largest lake west of the Mississippi river. so I get my flood insurance from FEMA.
Well I’m reading the wrong news paper. I see that Tulare lake, was actually connected to the San Joachin River , by a ditch, and drained into San Francisco Bay, 80 years ago, so they could plant Thompson seedless grapes on the bottom of the lake.
So there is NO water in Tulare Lake today, but I still have to buy FEMA flood insurance.
Four feet of water on my land would make the biggest lake in the United States.

Reply to  george e. smith
October 10, 2014 12:06 pm

Be careful not to spit in your back yard, george. If you do, and FEMA finds out, your premiums will go up ;o)

Reply to  george e. smith
October 10, 2014 12:48 pm

I can’t envisage this type of landscape. Obviously you won’t want to post photo of your house but is there a more general photo of the area available so we can see the scale of this place?

Reply to  Tonyb
October 10, 2014 12:56 pm

There are proposals to recreate it, despite the towns and farms on its dry bed.

george e. smith
Reply to  Tonyb
October 10, 2014 2:09 pm

We are talking about the whole California central valley, which is all agricultural. The farmers level it so they can pump or ditch water, into one corner of hundreds of acres, and it will run all the way to the far corner, following the curvature of the earth. Their LLs can even tailor the “level”, to the porosity of the soil, so in less clayey soils, they have to put in a steeper gradient to get the water across the field before it soaks into the ground.
More clay, and they can reduce the tilt, because the water sinks slower.
Very high tech. Would blow your mind to see what modern row crop farmers do to make water go far.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Tonyb
October 10, 2014 2:53 pm

… and a video published on You Tube on Feb. 9, 2014 (I cannot vouch for its accuracy… that the film production company is “Green Planet Films” raises a red flag for me…)

“TULARE the Phantom Lake”
(well, in skipping through the first 10 minutes of that film I learned that it is pronounced like: “To Larry” (as in the cable guy) — I thought it rhymed with: “to dare.”)

george e. smith
Reply to  Tonyb
October 10, 2014 4:48 pm

” Too-lar-ree” Janice. Evidently derives from the “Tules” as in “Too-lees” which are reed laden marshy areas. Then there’s the Tule Elk, a recognized sub population of wild elk. Not to be confused with the American Eastern Elk, which is extinct. The prevailing belief is that if the last remaining him or her Eastern Elk, were to run into a herd of Western Elk, say somewhere in Kansas, neither him/er or the herd, would have any idea what to do, to/with each other. Tule elk, would be likewise non-plussed by this now extinct strange animal.
Now work on pulling my other leg. I can assure you that a Tule Elk knows what to do to/with any Eastern Elk that goes west (young man) !
Tulare County is one of the poorest counties in California, with an economy totally dependent on migrant agriculture. Lotsa grapes, oranges, kiwi fruit, stone fruit (peaches, plums apricots, nectarines, pluots, lemons, grapefruit, dairy cows, turkey farms, anything else you can eat drink, or sleep. Justabout the highest productivity in the USA.

george e. smith
Reply to  Tonyb
October 10, 2014 6:23 pm

So Janice, the video is not too unreal. Now I have my house on the Eastern shore of Tulare lake… Too-lar-ree and Too-air-ree are considered about equally acceptable.
I’m midway between Fresno and Visalia, the County center of Tulare County, on highway 198, which is the gateway to Sequoia National park.
So I’m 45 miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park and a bit closer to Kings Canyon National Park, from which the Kings River gets its name. The land to the East of me, toward the Sierra, is lush and just covered with agriculture; nothing like Tulare Lake…..The Lemore Naval Air Station, is in the middle of Tulare Lake, between Highway 99 to the East, and Hiway 5 to the West. Route 198 goes through the Harris Ranch area on Hiway 5, and then goes over the hills to King City on Hiway 101. I see 13,000 ft Alta Peak, and others of the Western High Sierra, the Kaweahs, and Triple Divide peak is out of sight East of those, right out my kitchen window.
Between 99 and 5 is referred to as “The West Side” and that is all mega farms. And yes, in a good snow year when they have surface water, they grow rice, instead of cotton, and all of those wading birds come in from everywhere. Cattle Egrets come over from Africa, and those gorgeous black egrets show up in droves. The rice fields get full of shrimp, so there’s plenty to eat. The water for the rice (it stops the weeds from growing, till the rice grass gets up thick enough.) dissolves all the surface salt, (which came originally from the pumped ground water), and takes it down to at least that clay barrier, so it flushes the surface soil clean. And then they can go back to growing melons and tomatoes, and the like (sorghum), until the salt from pumped ground water gets too high, and then they can’t grow anything but cotton, so they grow cotton. It is all thoroughly worked out and well managed. But yes it is a tough way to do things, but it helps California feed the world.
We don’t need to grow cotton, we don’t need to grow rice; but there are times in the cycle, when it is the right thing to grow, to keep recycling the soil.
Yes the water runoff does need better processing, before feeding it into the downstream river systems, which ultimately reach SF Bay ,and out into Monterey Bay.
On the East side, you don’t encounter too many of the original native tribes, that are depicted in the video, they were mostly west siders. East side, is more Hispanics , Filipinos, Vietnamese, Armenians and Dalmatians , and Croatian, being the farming monied (mostly families), whereas Westside, is big absentee conglomerates.
An interesting place.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  george e. smith
October 10, 2014 1:36 pm

Four feet of water on my land would make the biggest lake in the United States.

If you believe the climate model reports Jimbo has provided (well, half of them anyway), you should get started building a dock for your boat.

Janice Moore
Reply to  george e. smith
October 11, 2014 8:33 am

Re: your commentary about Toolayree :), below, thanks for the info.. “All” there is is farming… understatement of the year, dear Mr. Smith — to live surrounded by farmland is the best life in the world. Beats high rises every time. All the migration changes of those birds — fascinating. So, “the planet” can adapt, hm? What a concept. 😉

Jaye Bass
October 10, 2014 11:30 am

Interesting but not nearly as entertaining as the fight between McIntyre and little Nicky Stokes. From what I can tell Stokes is getting his ass handed to him.

October 10, 2014 12:04 pm

No problem like ice no matter what happens to rain you will find climate ‘science research’ that proves it was down to AGW. After if they did not have this heads you lose tails I win ability there may not be any climate ‘science’ in the first place.

October 10, 2014 12:10 pm

“In reality these claims are usually based on climate models, which have a demonstrable inability to tell us anything reliable about rainfall……”

You don’t say!

Abstract – 6 JAN 2009
Multi-model ensemble estimates of climate change impacts on UK seasonal precipitation extremes
…..The multi-model ensembles project increases across the UK in winter, spring and autumn extreme precipitation; although there is uncertainty in the absolute magnitude of increases, these range from 5 to 30% depending upon region and season. In summer, model predictions span the zero change line, although there is low confidence due to poor model performance……..


Abstract – 25 June 2010
An extreme value analysis of UK drought and projections of change in the future
………Output from an 11-member perturbed physics ensemble of the Hadley Centre regional climate model (HadRM3),…………Projections of drought for the 21st century were estimated by applying non-stationary extreme value theory to these monthly drought indices. All drought indices show an overall increase in drought in the future. However, the spread of values is considerable ranging from little change or a slight decrease to a significant increase depending on ensemble member and, to a smaller extent, location……

Reply to  Jimbo
October 10, 2014 12:13 pm

More modeled results, here are the abstracts.
• Sahel to get less rain
• Sahel to get more rain
• Sahel may get more or less rain

Reply to  Jimbo
October 10, 2014 12:15 pm

More modeled results, here are the abstracts.
• Indian monsoons to be drier
• Indian monsoons to be wetter

Janice Moore
Reply to  Jimbo
October 10, 2014 2:12 pm

NICE WORK, as usual, JIMBO!

Reply to  Jimbo
October 10, 2014 12:31 pm

The climate models are less useful than my used toilet paper.

Reply to  Jimbo
October 10, 2014 12:34 pm

The predictions of the models have failed miserably, but as below, IMO that’s a useful fact, since it shows that the alleged rise in CO2 from 280 to 400 ppm since c. AD 1850 has had no discernible effect on GASTA, assuming that is measurable.

October 10, 2014 12:35 pm

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October 10, 2014 3:07 pm

CO2…the magic gas that can change rainfall, droughts, snow, hurricanes and earthquakes…without changing the temperature

October 10, 2014 4:28 pm

“The scientific evidence shows that a simple extrapolation of rainfall averages over time can give better rainfall predictions than climate models”
When you are making predictions this is the simplest, most reliable way to predict future weather, or almost anything else. Unless you have strong, empirical data to suggest otherwise, the most reliable predictions are that the future will follow the trend of the data you have, with a liklihood that it will move back towards the mean.

October 12, 2014 5:36 am

Well there it was on Australian SBS TV channel “Twilight of Civilisations’ documentary (at 7.30PM Sunday 12th Oct) as the various scientists digitally mapped Angkor and joined some archaeological dots to discover why the Kmher city’s sudden demise into an interesting series of temples for tourists nowadays.
Well a crucial piece of the puzzle was a Sydney University climate change boffin checking out a local natural lake’s sediments to conclude a series of exceptional annual droughts followed by resuming flash flooding and exacerbated by land clearing, ultimately destroyed the economic system of barays and canals upon which the population of a million or so ultimately depended. There was the evidence in an accurately dated stone arch bridge that had been bypassed completely by the river and wait for it- the river level had subsequently dropped a whopping six metres some time in the late13th or early 14th century.
Yes folks proof positive of climate change, although the irony of it all seems to be completely lost on these coremometer climate change people, but they’ll be no doubt pleased to know that the Angkor plain and some of its impressive temples is now covered in jungle. That’s climate change for you.

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