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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Denier weirdness from Philip Lloyd: An extreme rainfall event is a year in the making?

Sou | 3:30 AM Go to the first of 5 comments. Add a comment

Deniers are weird people. Anthony Watts has another article from science denier Philip Lloyd, who's not unknown at HotWhopper. He's not a climate scientist, that's for sure. Philip decided to look at annual rainfall in England and Wales to see if extreme rainfall events have increased or not.

What's that?

No, I don't think it's a joke article. You can see for yourself.

Now I know that no HotWhopper reader would think to look at annual records to see if a single storm brought record rain. How would you find it? Annual records of rainfall are just that. Annual rainfall by definition doesn't show individual rain events, unless all the rainfall in a year occurred all at once and it didn't rain for the rest of the year.

The record rain events can't be seen when you only show the annual amount. What you'd do is see if you could find records of record rainfall. For example, in a paper in Nature Climate Change in 2012, Dim Coumou and Stefan Rahmstorf documented some record rainfall events in the early years of this century, writing:
In 2000, the wettest autumn on record in England and Wales damaged nearly 10,000 properties, causing losses estimated at £1.3 billion (ref. 27). On 12 August 2002, 312 mm of rain poured down at the weather station of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld: the highest rainfall amount ever recorded in a single day in Germany. The Elbe River at Dresden reached its highest level since records began in 1275 (ref. 42), causing severe flooding. The period from May to July 2007 was by far the wettest in England and Wales since records began in 1766 (ref. 43), with 406  mm of rain (previous record: 349 mm). Two years later in 2009, the United Kingdom set a new 24-hour rainfall record: 316  mm at Seathwaite in Borrowdale. New rainfall records in Pakistan in late July 2010 (ref. 44) caused the worst flooding in its history. Also in 2010, eastern Australia suffered from the highest December rainfall ever recorded (since 1900), following the by far wettest spring on record, while southwestern Australia had just experienced the driest ever wet season. Sea surface temperatures around Australia had been breaking records for several months running. In January 2011, the record rainfall caused some of the worst flooding in the country’s history. In September 2011, Typhoon Talas set a new Japanese 72-hour rainfall record of 1,625 mm (previous record: 1,322 mm).
The authors go on to say how it's difficult to determine the extent to which these were brought about by global warming. However what they do say is this:
Statistical detection of rainfall extremes remains challenging owing to non-Gaussianity and the fact that they are local events requiring a dense observational network. Still, throughout the mid-latitudes, extreme precipitation events (the upper 0.1% of daily rain events) have apparently increased substantially over the past 100 years, in the United States by about 33% (ref. 46). Different precipitation indices (for example, maximum five-day precipitation, extremely wet days) show a tendency towards wetter conditions in regions with sufficient temporal coverage (Europe, the United States and southern Australia)11. Extreme rainfall (beyond the ninetyeighth percentile) in European winters has increased nearly eightfold over the past 150 years, related to changing circulation patterns.
And then they explain that so far, global warming has increased the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere by about four per cent. It all pours back down.

From the WUWT comments

There's a typical lowbrow WUWT "thought" from Marcus  
October 28, 2015 at 8:18 am
As a Canadian heading into winter, I demand to know…..Where the hell is that Glo.Bull Warming ????? I’m tired of freezing my nuts off every 6 months for 6 months !! Why am I still seeing snow ? You liberals promised ” NO MORE SNOW ” !!!!………..aaaaaah, thanks. I feel better now..

Michael Jankowski cottoned on to the bluff. His comment is surprisingly sharp for a WUWT reader.
October 28, 2015 at 8:27 am
To be fair…this sort of data is good when looking at drought periods (or their non-existence) but not “extreme rainfall events” that fall over much shorter durations than one year. And extreme example (pun intended) would be getting one 24″ rainfall event and dryness the rest of the year instead of 2″ per month

References and further reading

Coumou, Dim, and Stefan Rahmstorf. "A decade of weather extremes." Nature Climate Change 2, no. 7 (2012): 491-496. doi:10.1038/nclimate1452 (pdf here)


  1. Clearly Marcus is/was a RWA supporter of the former Harper Regime. Still we were supposed to get 45--55 mm of rain today and got much less so I guess global warming is a lie, (and to heck with those wingers in Ottawa, they deserve the 55mm of rain).

  2. Maybe Marcus is in Quebec/Ontario, where the past year or so has been near its 20th century average, or even running a bit cool -- despite it being globally the warmest year on record.

  3. Hide the positive incline! Bert

  4. "When you hear that the effects of climate change will fall more strongly on poor nations, realize that it is probably true. It has, however, nothing to do with climate change, and everything to do with some poorly engineered infrastructure in those nations. ..."

    This is from the article. Unbelievable someone can write this with no sense of the absurdity of such a self-contradictory statement.


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