UK Met Office: Current Storms “..highly Unusual”, Consistent with Climate Change

February 9, 2014

The UK Met Office has released a snapshot of best analysis of the current extreme weather battering the Isles. The last few months have seen global extreme weather events related to a stubbornly extreme jet-stream set-up, that is also implicated in severe cold events in eastern North America, drought in California, and unseasonable warmth in the Alaskan arctic.

This kind of jet stream activity is seen by many scientists as related  to arctic ice loss, due to man made climate change.


Climate change is likely to be a factor in the extreme weather that has hit much of the UK in recent months, the Met Office’s chief scientist has said.

Dame Julia Slingo said the variable UK climate meant there was “no definitive answer” to what caused the storms.

slingo“But all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change,” she added.

“There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events.”

More than 130 severe flood warnings – indicating a threat to life – have been issued since December. In contrast, there were only nine in the whole of 2012.

Speaking ahead of the launch of a Met Office report – produced by the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology – into recent climatic events, Dame Julia said the UK had seen the “most exceptional period of rainfall in 248 years”.

Unsettled weather at this time of year was not unexpected – but the prolonged spell of rain, as well as the intensity and height of coastal waves, was “very unusual”.


“We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this,” she said. “We have seen some exceptional weather. We can’t say it is unprecedented but it is exceptional.”

Met Office:

Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm in the last 100 years. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030. This equates to 23-27cm (9-101⁄2 inches) of total sea level rise since 1900.

Recent studies suggest an increase in the intensity of Atlantic storms that take a more southerly track, typical of this winter’s extreme weather. Also the long-term warming of the sub-tropical Atlantic will also act to enhance the amount of moisture being carried by storms that take this more southerly track.

There is an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, and that the rate of increase is consistent with what is expected from fundamental physics. There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly heavy rain events.

Climate News Network:

Dame Julia told BBC Radio: “We know that warmer air holds more water…As scientists we always go back to the evidence base. I always challenge the climate sceptics to provide me with the same level of scientific integrity of the evidence base. I can’t see it.

“Nobody has come forward to counter the basic premise that if you have a warmer world you are going to get more intense heavy rain rates…as we’re beginning to detect now over the UK.”

47 Responses to “UK Met Office: Current Storms “..highly Unusual”, Consistent with Climate Change”

  1. Really excellent talk:

    Jonathan Overpeck – The emerging new reality of megadrought risk

    You should do a video on this Peter.

  2. […] 2014/02/09: PSinclair: UK Met Office: Current Storms “..highly Unusual”, Consistent with… […]

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