UK Pounding to Continue

February 8, 2014


Massive waves over-top the sea wall to inundate Chesil Beach in Dorset, England. Image source: Paul McEvily

Coastal infrastructure that has withstood the sea since Victorian Times is being steadily washed away.   This winter’s phenomena of globally linked jet stream pattern is providing a significant window into the future, and showing that climate change is here, now, ready or not.

RobertScribbler Blog:

Never-ending storms.

It’s been the litany for the United Kingdom ever since December unleashed her fury on the island nation’s rocky coasts. Then, the isles witnessed their windiest month ever in a series of storm events that threw about 100 ton boulders and reshaped coastal cliffs as if they were child’s toys. A month later, the wettest January on record cut off entire towns from road transport while flooding thousands of hectares of low-lying farmland. Now, with 23 straight days of rain occurring in January and with February hot on its heels, it appears that the UK may see its wettest winter in at least 100 years.

Conservatives, who had been ideologically opposed to responses to human-caused climate change (which they seem to believe they can wish away), appear to have been caught flat-fooded by the recent string of disasters as the government had cut funding to flood prevention efforts by more than 10% over 2013. These cuts took place at the same time that some of the wettest spring-time weather on record abruptly switched to extreme summer drought and wildfires and as climatologists were increasingly warning of severe weather risks for both the UK and Europe as the globe continued to warm. Climate change, on the other hand, suffered from no such lack of clarity — battering England with a two month period of record shattering weather that is likely to extend at least through February.

After so long an intense period of storminess, one would expect a bit of respite. For what the UK has suffered amounts to the fury of a nearly two month long hurricane. But there is yet no rest for storm-ravaged England. NOAA’s Ocean Prediction Center, the Euro, and the GFS models all predict a powerful 950 mb storm to rush into England on the 8th. This storm is expected to be at least as potent as the most recent disaster with a wide field of hurricane force winds and heavy rains:



10 Responses to “UK Pounding to Continue”

  1. I’m currently in the south of Germany, luckily away from the worst of the storms, although France hasn’t been so fortunate. Yesterday 55,000 French homes were without power.

    The flooding on the Somerset Levels in your last image is the result of record amounts of rain, the heavist since records began over 200 years ago. Conservative MP’s including David Cameron, the Prime Minister were quick to blame the lack of dredging (the Levels are a drained wetland) for the problem. The fact is, however that no amount of dredging would have prevented these unprecidented floods.

    The lesson is clear: The climate is changing. Incredible as it may seem, drought severely affected southern England in the spring and summer of 2013, only to be drowned out as wet weather set in and pretty much stayed over England into the winter.

    And all of this while the USA freezes over.

    What will this mean for us all? Farming is being badly affected and food production is suffering in Britain. The UK only produces 60% of its needs at the best of times, so we can expect greater reliance on imports and hanvce rising prices.

    I feel sorry for the poor (yes, there are plenty of those in Britain) as they will suffer first and have done the least to affect the climate.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      We’ve often heard that climate change will affect the developing world first, and most drastically – but current changes in temperate zone jet stream flow suggests possible severe impacts on the US, Japan, and Europe in the near term.

  2. Some amazing/disturbing pics here. I was commenting over at P3 about watching the Tories go in one direction while the climate rapidly goes in the other.

    “Climate change is here, now, ready or not.” That’s exactly how it feels at the moment. Recent years haven’t been much better – I’ve read that agri output in the UK has only survived the amount of water dumped on it by use of massive amounts of pesticide (or massively more than usual). The Somerset levels (as the name suggests) are obviously particularly vulnerable, but that’s kind of the point – we’re not preparing. Vulnerable places that should be the first to be doing this, just aren’t. And worse, they’re often pursuing odd and contradictory strategies that may make things worse (as Monbiot covered in detail).

    • dumboldguy Says:

      “Some amazing/disturbing pics here” Very true, and they show why there will always be a place for black and white.

      Re: “commenting over at P3”? Canada definitely!

  3. johnrussell40 Says:

    I sense a tipping point in the discourse coming here in the UK around climate change, due largely to the continuing impact of these floods. At the moment the entire southwestern corner of the UK is cut off as far as the railways are concerned. Everyone here is saying that they’ve never seen anything like it in their lifetime and there’s nothing like a record weather event that impacts on people’s lives to make them reassess their beliefs.

    If it creates a willingness to take climate change seriously and shuts up those in denial at least we’ll be able to say that every cloud has a silver lining.

  4. Michael McNeil Says:

    I currently live in the Polar Vortex! I’m hopeful we in the upper midwest (U.S.) will have a decent spring. I send my warm regards to all of you in the U.K. & Ireland for a sharp left turn to that pissing jetstream, cheers.

  5. rayduray Says:

    Dr. Dave Petley of the Landslide Blog has a couple of photos of the South Coast of the UK where lots of features seem to be getting rearranged.

    And here in Central Oregon we’re beginning to take notice of the snow loads on the roofs. There’s just two feet of fairly light snow up on my roof after 48 hours of off-and-on storms. Next up? Rain, to make it really, really heavy. What fun.

  6. An update on the growing food security issue facing the UK as the climate changes:

    This is very bad news for us all, not just for Britain.

  7. toby52 Says:

    Don’t forget Ireland which escaped the worst up until last week, but has now suffered damage reckoned to be 100 million Euros.

    I hear on the news that France, especially Brittany, has also been badly hit.

    Like john russell, I have never heard climaet change so publicly discussed. Particularly, elderly people are remarking how they have never seen the likes of it before in their lifetimes.

    The Prime Minister has told the national parliament that climate change was at least partly to blame. Money will clerly have to be invested to improve national resilience to global warming.

    PS: Our national met office recently issued this report:

  8. […] UK Pounding to Continue | Climate Denial Crock of the Week Not in the above, but it estimated that 3.6 million homes in England and Wales are at risk of flood damage and 5 million properties. It is also predicted that flooding of 35,000 hectares of agricultural land will be flooded on a three yearly timescale now. That figure will rise to 125,000 hectares within fifty years or so. One source of stress on food production. Sign in or Register Now to reply […]

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