Friday, 4 January 2013

Met Office v Loddington

I thought long and hard about how to write an interesting blog about rainfall statistics. I'm not sure its possible, but I would like to muse over the concept of using general statistics and secondly the MET Office wettest year figures.  Now the headline grabbing phrase was '2012 was not the wettest year on record in the UK', we had 6.6 mm more rain in 2000. The table below is from Met Office figures.

Top five wettest years in the UK
1337.3 mm
1330.7 mm
1309.1 mm
1295.0 mm
1283.7 mm

Generalisations are great for 'headlines and soundbites' but often leave many 'statos' yearning for more detailed figures for our region or farm. The 14% harvest yield reductions muted in October by the NFU harvest survey had me screaming that our harvest yield reduction was at least double this figure. Yes ... I know the figures are averaged out across the country and I filled in the survey so my yields are in there.

So with this in mind, lets look at the Met Office precipitation in individual UK countries; 2012 was the wettest year on record for England, third wettest for Wales, 17th wettest for Scotland and ......blimey Charlie it was 40th wettest for Northern Ireland. Now I am happier that its a bit more in perspective..... but perhaps we could drill down to the parish of Loddington and Launde in Leicestershire ?

This scene captured in the mid 1990's was repeated again in December 2012

So I compared our automatic weather station with my neighbour Richard Wright and settled on this 20 year set of data (we had more but there is a limit) . Brace yourself here comes the graph that will show you that we had 1036mm (40.8 in) in 2012 compared to 859 mm (33.8in) in 2000.

More importantly we had twice as much rain as last year, but our 20 year average is 738mm (29.1 in)
...... oh no I've fallen into the trap of generalisation. You should be gently nodding off now....

1 comment:

  1. CCNet 05/01/13
    Met Office Accused Of Misleading Public Over Rainfall Trends
    Questions Over Met Office Rain & Drought Predictions

    The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drier-than-average conditions for April-May-June as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the driest of the 3 months. With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the April-May-June period… This forecast is based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement. --Met Office 3-month Outlook, 23 March 2012

    Seventeen counties in South West England and the Midlands have moved into official drought status, after two dry winters have left rivers and ground waters depleted. The news comes as the Environment Agency warned that the drought could last beyond Christmas. While rain over the spring and summer will help to water crops and gardens, it is unlikely to improve the underlying drought situation. --Environmental Agency, 16 April 2012

    There's evidence to say we are getting slightly more rain in total, but more importantly it may be falling in more intense bursts” -- Julia Slingo, Met Office, 3 January 2013

    The frequency of extreme rainfall in the UK may be increasing, according to analysis by the Met Office. Statistics show that days of particularly heavy rainfall have become more common since 1960. The analysis is still preliminary, but the apparent trend mirrors increases in extreme rain seen in other parts of the world. --Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 3 January 2013

    In the wake of the "more rain and more intense rain" story, Doug Keenan sends this graph of England & Wales rainfall records for 1766-2012. Let's just say the trend towards more rainfall is not obvious. As indeed is any trend towards less rainfall, which is said to be more likely by the UK Climate Impacts Programme. --Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, 5 January 2013

    Suddenly, after a wet year, which naturally the Met Office failed to forecast, they have reversed their customary fiery slogans to “Après nous le deluge”. Their antediluvian joy has given way to postdiluvian melancholy. They appear to have difficulty with the concept of random sequences of events, such as the precise positioning of the jet stream, and the fact that they produce apparent patterns and records. It was primitive man’s inability to envisage an effect without human cause that gave rise to much of religion. Of course it would have been most impressive if they had predicted all this a year ago, but they did not. Their predictions are as changeable as the weather and the only constant is the putative cause. --John Brignell, Number Watch, 3 January 2013

    The Met Office continues to suffer from its recently acquired pretensions about climate. Careless remarks about BBQ summers and snowless winters and droughts in the UK have all been followed by Mother Nature failing to comply with their wishful thinking - the wishful bit being their hope that their faith in the power of CO2 in the system, or at least in computer models giving it a powerful effect, can be relied upon. –John Shade, Bishop Hill, 5 January 2013