By Paul Homewood
Is climate change making winter floods getting worse in England?
This is a question that is often posed. There are many reasons why river levels may be reaching higher levels than in the past, including the concreting over of upstream drainage areas and flood defences which often simply transfer the problem downstream.
But is rainfall now more extreme? There is no evidence of this in monthly or daily totals. But often the key factor in fluvial flooding is the accumulation of rain over a period of time, rather than one big storm.
The European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D) provides some good tools for analysing rainfall data, in particular the Highest 5-Day Rainfall total for each year.
I have used this to analyse rainfall during the winter-half year, October to March, for most of the long running stations in England.
Trends are either flat or even decreasing.