Wet end to September raises autumn flooding concerns

Friday 14 September 2012, 16:13

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

The second half of September look set to be dominated by low pressure, with little chance of a prolonged dry settled spell of weather.

All computer weather models are indicating that temperatures are likely to be below normal, with rain expected at times across the UK - although there will be some dry, bright days especially in the south and east at first.

Heavy rain on wednesday led the River Aire to burst its banks into the flood plain near Skipton, shown in the picture below.

This highlights the fact that the water table remains high, following the wettest April on record, and the wettest summer in 100 years.

Since March, there hasn't been a prolonged spell of dry weather which would naturally allow the land to dry out and the water table to fall, and should the traditionally wet months of October and November materialise, then a renewed risk of flooding is a distinct possibility.

The floods of autumn 2000 were unprecedented in their scale and severity, and such was the volume of rainfall that fell, that it became the wettest autumn in the Central England data set which goes back to 1766.

But the flooding was made far worse because there were no spells of settled, dry weather in any of the previous months.

April 2000 was the wettest on record and June 2000 was also very wet, with the River Ouse rising to its highest ever June level, as parts of the region experienced flooding.

But crucially July and August 2000 - the warmest two months of the year, when evaporation rates are at their highest - whilst not classed as a washout, saw no period of prolonged dry weather over a period of weeks which would have allowed the land to dry out.

So in 2000, far less rainfall in October of that year would have caused some flooding, because the land was already so wet.

We can only hope that whilst the rest of September is likely to see more rainfall, the rest of autumn shows some improvement, or further flooding may become a reality.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Glad I'm off to Oz then. Last one to leave switch the lights off. Oh forgot, pretty soon there won't be any lights on.

    Smoke me a kipper

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Enjoy the ski-ing, they're having a bumper season with lots of snow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    A bit off topic now, but the NASA/GISS temperature anomalies for August are as follows:
    Global = 0.56c, compared to 0.47c for July.
    N.H. = 0.65c, compared to 0.75c for July.
    S.H. = 0.48c, compared to 0.19c for July.
    After adjustment to 1961-90, the above are equivalent to 0.45c, 0.59c and 0.34c respectively.
    These changes are very similar to those in UAH, although the actual anomalies for UAH are higher after adjustment to 1961-90, although that isn't reliable.
    The global figure also shows an increase consistent with the August AQUA CH5 temperature, which I think I said would probably indicate a small increase in the anomalies to levels similar to those in June. That would put the Augst HadCRUT3 figure at around 0.48c.
    Still no RSS figure for August (it is very unusual for them to be later than NASA/GISS), and I have sent them an e-mail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Thanks QV,

    I think that puts August 2012 at 6th place overall in warmest Augusts on record globally in the past 133 years, according to NASA?

    Congratulations on once again getting it pretty near the mark.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    @3 Yes thanks QV

    @ 4. newdwr54 wrote

    "I think that puts August 2012 at 6th place overall in warmest Augusts on record globally in the past 133 years, according to NASA?"

    And also puts NASA/GISS Loti 30 year (WMO Standard) running average at +0.163 per decade, 9.2% lower than the Dec 2003 high.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    newdwr54 - you're going to have to change your preferred 'link to' source. SKS appears to have imploded. Not much else I can say - sad really.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    6. lateintheday wrote:

    "newdwr54 - you're going to have to change your preferred 'link to' source. SKS"

    Also going to have to give up "the only metric that matters is WMO Standard 30 years equals climate"

    Watch for the moves, they will be multi-various and creative. I have learnt over the last two years to respect DW's creativity. It is truly a shame that his ideology has denied him the opportunity to inform the world what is actually happening. Quite amazing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Imploded? Where?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Your picture of the river Aire flooding onto its flood plain. That is what flood plain is for. The 2000 floods were not unprecedented. Flooding of the Humber in the 12th cent caused several thousand deaths. The East Coast flooding 1950's killed over 300. Flooding is a natural reaction to heavy rain but now used as a signal for alarmist policies by the Greens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    NASA GISS 30 year running mean

    There's no sign of any let up

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    11. quake wrote:

    "There's no sign of any let up"

    In Dec 2003 the GISS LOTI 30 year running mean rate of warming reached its maximum recorded rate of +0.0181C

    "#Least squares trend line; slope = 0.018091 per year"


    and following the latest monthly data it is now +0.0163C

    "#Least squares trend line; slope = 0.0162683 per year"


    How can a near 10% reduction in the rate of warming be described as "no sign of any let up"?

    Also as we have in excess of 11 years of zero GISS LOTI increase I suspect this trend will continue. There will be minor % ups and downs, but 10% is now becoming significant. Just plain and simple data, not interpreted, just the actual facts of what is happening in the real world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Quake why does the chart you linked to end in 1997? How is that relevant to what is happening now? Am I missing something?

    "1997.58 0.380611
    #Data ends"


  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    @10 snowman

    Ah you mean no one else ever vents anger in terms they wouldn't normally use in public...

    Watts has never emailed monckton, et al to organise themselves? Or goes to conferences at Heartland? My indifference is deafening...

    Is wuwt still miffed that he didn't get asked to post that survey?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    @14 john_cogger wrote:

    "Is wuwt still miffed that he didn't get asked to post that survey?"

    Whether WUWT is to your liking or not, it is recognised by all concerned as the sceptic blog with the most traffic.

    Now if you wanted to garner the views of sceptics why would you not ask the sceptic blog with the most traffic?

    PS I am not discounting the fact that WUWT was asked and "lost" it, unknowingly or intentionally, but I am surprised that the survey team have not yet publically stated that they did contact WUWT. Why leave it out? It is not that they had never heard of it. Maybe they will come forward with a copy of their communication to WUWT?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    @15 Greensand

    They didn't contact WUWT, they have said who they contacted (and in some cases corresponded with). Though with some of the commentators at WUWT maybe it was seen as shooting fish in a barrel! (New world orders et al). :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Though why a survey and paper on psychology is getting so much attention from some blogs is a mystery for me? Has the arctic recovered yet? No other papers for or against to look at?

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Yes, a pity if September is going to continue the wet theme. Its not been too bad here so far - at least compared to much of the year since April. It will be interesting to see whether the year as a whole sets any records for prolonged wetness/dullness etc.

    No doubt, whatever happens - it will have been "worse" X centuries ago!

    Incidentally John Marshall #9 technically much of the Vale of York, the entire Humber basin, Holderness and the whole Vale of Pickering are "flood Plains" - if you want to go far back enough into history. Its just that unfortunately since then they have been drained and lived on. Perhaps we should wait until half of Yorkshire returns to an inland sea before resorting to "alarmist policies".

    It will be interesting to see how many people drown this time compared to the 12th cent - won't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    @16 john_cogger wrote

    "They didn't contact WUWT"

    Did they say why? I have not seen a site selection process but to be fair I have not looked, not really my scene, I try to stay with actual physical observational data.

    Just doesn't make sense to ignore what should be a major source of input. But hey ho...

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    @19 Greensand

    Not read their selection process either and it's not my scene either. Though by the way it's being reacted too you'd think that it had made a major breakthrough that has changed all science as we know it!


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