Weather

With much more rainfall on the way in the coming days across all parts of the UK, this winter is certain to end up one of the wettest ever recorded.

The level of coverage in the media of the resulting flooding across the UK has been virtually unprecedented in the last few weeks.

The pictures of extensive flooding in Somerset, and the battering our coast has received, particularly in Cornwall, have been breath-taking.

But it is worth putting the current flood in context, and as distressing as it is to be flooded, the number of properties affected in the south of the UK is tiny compared to other floods in previous years.

For example, up until this weekend the total number of properties affected by floodwater in Somerset in the last few weeks is 40.

But during the coastal surge in early December last year, 688 properties were flooded along the Yorkshire coast alone, and according to the Environment Agency, flood defences protected 66,000 properties in the Yorkshire and Humber area at that time.

Since last week, between 800 and 900 properties have flooded in the UK, primarily in southern Britain.

Although this number may rise significantly in the next few days, particularly with the Thames now at record levels in relatively highly populated parts of Berkshire and Surrey, it is still comparatively small compared to the last big flood to hit the UK.

That was In June 2007 and far more people were affected; in the Yorkshire and Humber region alone, a staggering 23,479 homes were flooded, along with 3,718 businesses.

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  • Comment number 127. Posted by ashleyhr

    on 17 Feb 2014 22:46

    Newsnight now - climate change sceptic takes on climate change believer...

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  • Comment number 126. Posted by Stephen Wilde

    on 17 Feb 2014 18:47

    http://www.newclimatemodel.com/update-2014-visual-proof-of-global-cooling/

    As you can see from the charts shown, there has been an increased pole to equator temperature differential across the North Atlantic which has fuelled the powerful jets.

    The situation has been building up for several years and is the precise opposite of AGW theory.

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  • Comment number 125. Posted by greensand

    on 17 Feb 2014 18:39

    123. ukpahonta

    Intriguing question, put to the right person. Answer should be Interesting,

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  • Comment number 124. Posted by ukpahonta

    on 17 Feb 2014 18:30

    Newdwr54

    Apologies predictive text.

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  • Comment number 123. Posted by ukpahonta

    on 17 Feb 2014 18:24

    Needed54, Greenland

    A few days ago I asked Richard Betts why the forecasts were always too high against actual but hindcasts showed both higher and lower than actual. He couldn't answer at the time but I am sure he will find out.

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  • Comment number 122. Posted by RobWansbeck

    on 17 Feb 2014 18:06

    @120, newdwr54 wrote:

    “ Yes, you have to dip your toe into the statistics and mathematics of it to see 'why' the models aren't wrong. “

    Hilarious.

    I have given a link to a statistical analysis by a mathematician that shows how we can reject more than half of the models based on comparing model trends to measured trends and making allowance for 'weather' noise.

    Your response has been to wave your hands, mumble something about 10% and say nothing about error magnitude.
    Where are your 'statistics and mathematics'?

    I'll repost my earlier link:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2014/how-or-ar5-models-doing-end-of-2013/

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  • Comment number 121. Posted by greensand

    on 17 Feb 2014 17:45

    117. newdwr54

    Still Rubbish!

    Call it what you want but the projections/predictions/forecasts etc will only be judged on how they perform going forward! To attempt suggest otherwise is at best naive!

    Next paragraph

    "If you don't like the example...."

    It matters not one iota whether I like the example, it just doesn't exist, CMIP5 wasn't around in 1998 so there is no point in hypothetical machinations. Unless you are claiming that we have not incorporated into the models any of the knowledge and experience gained in the decades leading up to the CMIP5 project?

    118. newdwr54

    "2007 to 2013 is not a "prediction period"; it's the 'period of observation' to date."

    Rubbish again, there is no difference! The projections/predictions/forecasts started in 2007 so we can only judge them against the observations to date. Discussing the difference in "prediction period"; or 'period of observation' to date." is just pure nonsensical semantics.

    "So far observations have strayed outside the 90% range of the CMIP5 model set for a little over 3 years."

    Correct! We agree!

    Therefore the model set is not *yet* invalid and cannot properly be dismissed as such.

    Are you having reading or comprehension problems? ? I stated:-

    "Does it invalidate the project, no, too short a period.."

    So yet again we agree! Amazing how often that happens when we stick to the facts and leave out the hypothetical machinations and spin!

    Typically:-

    "As I mentioned before, if HadCRUT4 observations in 2014 are 0.50 or above...blah, blah"

    "None of that might happen, but it shows.."

    If it might not happen, It shows nothing!

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  • Comment number 120. Posted by newdwr54

    on 17 Feb 2014 17:01

    Sorry to post 4 in a row. I'll give it a rest after this.

    111. JaimeJ

    It's understandable that most people would look at this: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~ed/bloguploads/FIG_11-25_UPDATE.png and conclude, as you've done, that the models are wrong. It would be even more understandable if the multi-model mean (MMM) was shown (there's no particular reason why it should be, by the way).

    This is something that certain sites and people have used to their advantage. Sometimes they even post the MMM alongside observations without including the model set ranges, which makes the models look even more wrong. There is a constant 'meme' in certain circles that "all the models are wrong". You can't miss it. It's repeated load and often.

    All I'm saying is that the model set currently in use isn't wrong; the 'meme' is wrong. Yes, you have to dip your toe into the statistics and mathematics of it to see 'why' the models aren't wrong. And that's sort of the point. These websites, etc that we're talking about, and let's name names: WUWT; notrickzone; hockey schtick, GWPF, etc often work on the presumption that their readers 'won't' look into it that deeply.

    It might well turn out to be the case that observations stay outside the 90% range for a sufficiently long period for the models to be declared wrong (or at least the warmest of them). As greensand often says, 'time will tell'. But at the moment, the model set currently in use has not been invalidated statistically, nor have any of the models within in; not even the warmest ones.

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  • Comment number 119. Posted by newdwr54

    on 17 Feb 2014 15:31

    12. RobWansbeck

    "Surely you can understand that if temperatures fail to rise then the warmer models will be rejected before the cooler ones?"

    Yes, they will be; but only *if* temperatures fail to rise for a sufficient period. As I mentioned to GS a moment ago, if we get an El Nino later this year, then we could easily be looking at observations slap bang in the middle of the CMIP5 range in as little as 24 months time. Who would be calling for the models to be scrapped then?

    If temperatures remain outside the lower end of the 90% range much longer, then the threshold at which the warmest 5% can safely be rejected will come soon enough; but the fact is that it hasn't come yet.

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  • Comment number 118. Posted by newdwr54

    on 17 Feb 2014 15:10

    110. greensand

    ".... we only have a period of 6 years where we can observe how the RCPs are doing against observations going forward - 2007 to 2013 of which you quite rightly state "The current period outside the 90% range is 3 years," which is considerably larger than 10% of the "prediction period"."
    ______________________

    2007 to 2013 is not a "prediction period"; it's the 'period of observation' to date. The period under consideration is the entire 'projection period', which runs from the start of the hindcast period (1985) and ends at 2050. That's 65 years. 10% of that is 6.5 years. So far observations have strayed outside the 90% range of the CMIP5 model set for a little over 3 years. Therefore the model set is not *yet* invalid and cannot properly be dismissed as such.

    As I mentioned before, if HadCRUT4 observations in 2014 are 0.50 or above, then that will certainly put observations back inside the 90% envelope. If the widely predicted El Nino comes to pass in late 2014, then we could well see a new record warm year in 2015, which could plunk observations more or less back on the multi-model mean.

    None of that might happen, but it shows how rash it could be to dismiss the models as being 'too warm' at this early stage.

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