The above is a graph (hopefully now showing…apologies, but was OK when posted originally) plotted using rainfall data from as far back as 1766 by Doug Keenan(via Bishop Hill). It doesn’t show any particular change in present rainfall patterns from those experienced since 1766.
The Data is from the Met. Office’s Hadley climate centre...which boasts….
An independent review of the Met Office Hadley Centre commissioned by Defra and the MoD in 2007 concluded that:
‘It is beyond dispute that the Met Office Hadley Centre occupies a position at the pinnacle of world climate science and in translating that science into policy advice.’
Looking at the graph it is apparent that there is a pattern to the rainfall….every 50 years or so the rain falls more frequently in the middle range…starting at the beginning of the century, building up slowly and then dying away towards the end of the 50 year period…..anyone looking at that might speculate that we are now in a period when the rain should be getting heavier…..if it followed a pattern shown over two centuries or more.
Funnily enough that seems to be the case.
What is confusing is that the Met Office has another data set for rainfall….which I presume is the one they used in press releases recently as it dates only from 1910….the rainfall recorded is different to the Hadley data.
The BBC quote these figures from the Met. Office:
Met Office: 2012 was UK’s second wettest year on record
Top five wettest years in the UK
1. 2000 – 1,337.3mm
2. 2012 – 1,330.7mm
3. 1954 – 1,309.1mm
4. 2008 – 1,295.0mm
5. 2002 – 1,283.7mm
(Source: Met Office)
I’m not certain how the Met. Office calculate the UK totals...or even which data set they actually use but using the Hadley data for England and Wales I can show you how easy it is to cherry pick ‘record rainfall’ figures to emphasise any assertion about climate change that you fancy.
The BBC report that April and June have been the wettest April and June on record…indeed they have.
But what about the rest of the months in England and Wales?
When was the wettest January ? 1948. February? 1833. March? 1947. May? 1782. July? 1828. August? 1912. September? 1918. October? 2000. November? 1852. December? 1876.
When was the wettest month on record? November…1852.
Wettest month in Scotland? January 1993.
Wettest month in Northern Ireland? December 1999.
When was the wettest year on record? 1872, followed by 1768.
Which decade was the wettest on record? It was not 2001-2010…it was in fact 1871-1880. 1991-2000 was wetter than 2001-2010. (I haven’t calculated every decade…..merely picked what looked as if it would be high totalling and calculated from there….so there may be an even wetter decade….point being …the wettest decade is definitely not 2001-2010)
So you can see just throwing up ‘record’ figures is highly misleading….it certainly is slightly wetter than average at the moment but look again at that graph….and that might be entirely ‘normal’ in that pattern….we might in fact be due even heavier rainfall in the next decade or so. …only for it to dry up again.
So when the BBC busy themselves quoting these ‘scare’ figure which are designed to convince us that the world is about to end just consider that the records show things were just as bad, if not worse over a century ago…well before the IPCC claim our use of fossil fuels etc resulted in a change of climate, mostly in the last 50 years.
The Mayans predicted 2012 would finish with the end of the World…the BBC predict a similarly dire end.
The Mayans were wrong…..The BBC seem similarly to be in the sway of a religious fervour that clouds their judgement and prevents their journalism from functioning properly, stopping them digging out the truth rather than just accepting press releases from groups and organisations with vested interests….. The BBC are happy to suggest that because April and June were the wettest on record we can conclude that unusual and disasterous climate change is upon us…whilst the figures suggest otherwise…..any climate change might be entirely normal…and even beneficial for many.
Whatever the truth of the figures it might do to question them a bit more and look back into history for a few lessons and a broader perspective.