The Great Flood ~ a multi-record-breaking month’s worth of rain in one day!

June 26, 2007 at 3:53 pm | Posted in BBC, BBC radio, BBC TV, Britain, Climate change, Dams, England, Evacuations, Extremes, Floods, Global warming, Guardian, Independent, Media, Newspapers, Public communcation, Rain, Rainfall, Rescues, Times, UK, Weather | Leave a comment

Independence Day update: The Met Office has released UK mean temperature, rainfall and sunshine statistics for June 2007, which show that the UK has had its wettest June since records began.

😐 No wonder green wellies are de rigeur at Henley!

The Independent front page 26 June 2007 The Great Flood

The Association of British Insurers reckons that by 2080, global warming may have increased the annual cost of flooding in Britain by almost fifteen-fold, with potential losses of £22bn per annum.

That’s a pretty hefty sum. It is quoted in this article:

Michael McCarthy: Why ‘extreme events’ are likely to become the norm

I thought our friends in California might be interested to hear a little more about British weather, as Arnold Schwarzenegger is here in the UK today—meeting Tony Blair (on his last night in No. 10) to discuss climate change. We have (in)conveniently had a jolly good British example of what to expect as climate change progresses.

The British news—BBC radio and TV and The Independent (see above) and Guardian Unlimited (on the records) and The Times (on the RAF rescues and general conditions)—are extremely clear and careful to present these floods not as the direct result of climate change, but as examples of conditions we can expect to see more often as climate change progresses. The latter also ran this intriguing list by Tim Flannery:

Ten predictions about climate change that have come true

Improvements to flood defences (for our island nation) and dedicated tree planting (to provide a delay to 40—50% of rain as it falls, to reduce the downpour intensity without reducing the overall amount of rain) are the actions that top the discussions I have heard this evening.

Reporters are determined to explain to the public that Britain has had floods and will continue to have floods, despite a doubling of expenditure on flood defences in the last decade (if I remember that BBC Radio 4 quote correctly … I shall check the doubling figure tomorrow).  They are also going to great lengths to make sure that we know that climate change does not necessarily mean that any area will get more rainfall over any one year, but the key point is that a warmer atmosphere can absorb more water, and the rain is more likely to fall in intense bursts, with intervening dry spells being more extreme so tending to cause more effective droughts.  In other words, Britain’s rainfall average per annum could easily stay about the same, but we may still experience extremes of weather that will be unpredictable in intensity, duration, location and timing.

There is no panic. There is no chaos. Public communication seems to be excellent. The elderly who were evacuated from the homes due to flooding were interviewed in school shelters and say these times are reminiscent of WWII when they had to ‘stick it out’ and support each other as they were all in the same boat. Nil desperandum, and all that!

Floods, flash floods, storms, severe weather—whatever you call this, these conditions are unprecedented across such an extensive area of Britain since records began. Web surfers searching on ‘floods’ can see that Afghanistan and Texas are also suffering flash floods, but to most Britons this is not on their radar, as many of us have relatives who are affected by the British flooding, and more rain is on the way …

inel watched these on the BBC News website and thought you might be interested too:

** Flooding displaces thousands **
Three people have died and thousands have been forced from their homes following severe flooding.
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** Many flee over dam burst fears **
Hundreds of people have been evacuated over fears that the dam wall will burst at Ulley reservoir in South Yorkshire.
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