On the subject of the floods ‘up north’ where Xmas hasn’t been very merry……
On 13th March 2012, Julia Slingo told MPs that the low winter rainfall this country was experiencing was caused by climate change. A newspaper reported: “Slingo told the MPs that there is “increasing evidence in the last few months of that depletion of ice, in particular in the Bering and Kara seas, can plausibly impact on our winter weather and lead to colder winters over northern Europe”.
She added that more cold winters mean LESS WATER, and could exacerbate FUTURE DROUGHTS. “The replenishment of aquifers generally happens in winter and spring … a wet summer does not replenish aquifers.
In a newspaper report from 2014 she said:
“Speaking ahead of the release of a government report on Britain’s unusually stormy winter weather, the Met Office’s chief scientist, Dame Julia Slingo said on Sunday that the U.K. had seen the “most EXCEPTIONAL PERIOD OF RAINFALL in 248 years”and called the extreme weather “consistent with CLIMATE CHANGE”.
“All the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change,” she said. “There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events.”
SO, in the two years between 2012 and 2014 the effects of global warming (aka climate change) reversed from cold dry winters to warm wet ones. Dame Julia did a volte face because the science of climate change is based on computer programmes rather than real science based on facts and observation. There is one big drawback with computers namely……..garbage in = garbage out. So Ms Sligo,like a soothsayer, can easily predict doom and gloom whatever is really happening.
Q. Rather than spend money on flood defences, Why does the Government send bilions in aid to India (amongst others) which can afford a real space exploration programme whilst we just twitter on about a single english space tourist.
The climate is of extraordinary scientific complexity. Some things can be easily understood – for example warmer air carries more moisture and thus will lead to more rainfall. Other things, such as where the rain will fall, cannot be soothsayed.
This year has seen many unusual weather vents – such as rainfall in northern England, a very warm December in the South of England, hurricanes floods and tornadoes of exceptional severity in the Mid West and Southern USA, drought in Africa. All these events are unusual and consistent with what many climate scientists predicted. What is almost impossible to predict is where these events will take place.
The standard answer to your question is that aid must be sent abroad to combat the effects of climate change. I think that standard answer is hogwash. Very little aid is spent on combating the effects of climate change; most of it seems to end up in the pockets of corrupt officials and consultants. The money would be better spent in the UK on the UK, including on UK renewable energy, flood defences, and research into building technology to enable our buildings to better withstand future extreme weather events.
Unfortunately, so called climate science is based on computer analysis of short term trends and information. Who can say what is really unusual? I agree about the UK needing co-ordinated action on its infrastructure.
When I designed buildings for a living we designed surface water drainage for 10, 50 or 100 year storm events. We did not seek to change the weather but we designed/built to accommodate levels of risk depending on the building’s use and finances of the owner.
Certain lowland locations are always at risk of flooding while at the other end of the spectrum only (roughly speaking) once in a 100 years.
But, unfortunately, in the last 50 years we have significantly increased the flood risk in many areas by building, particularly hard paving/roads/car parking.
So, rainwater which was once absorbed locally in fields is now fed into rivers and streams thus causing flooding down stream. We are also now building on already well known flood risk areas. The result is that 10 year storms are now a more serious flood risk than 50 years ago.
In my view, we cannot simply ascribe 100 year storm events to recent trends in atmospheric CO2 without a lot more real, factual, evidence taken over time. Computer programmes are not evidence. Without better input they are no better than soothsayers. The trouble is climate change is more of a political issue than a real threat. Even if the atmosphere warms up 2 degrees there will be compensating factors. Gas consumption in the UK has been an all time low this winter. So the answer to flooding might not be trying to change the climate but to build downstream water storage (balancing ponds), pumping stations or buildings on stilts. Its not rocket science, just common sense
As to warm air holding more moisture, well what about the Sahara? lots of hot air……very little moisture.
You were right to pull me up about my statement that warm air holds more moisture than cold air. It was inexact.Moisture in the atmosphere is simply humidity, but not much that happens in the atmosphere is simple. Air becomes saturated when it holds the maximum possible amount of water vapour. Then the rate at which water molecules enter the air by evaporation exactly balances the rate at which they leave by condensation.
Atmospheric water vapour is one of the most important factors in determining Earth’s weather and climate. It is both a greenhouse gas which retains heat in the atmosphere and because as it turns from vapour to precipitation and snowfall, there are large exchanges of energy which affect our climate.
The statement of whether warm air holds more moisture than cold air actually begs the question. What actually happens is that at higher temperatures, the atmosphere will have a higher water concentration. A place which the air has relative humidity of 50% when its air is heated will find that its relative humidity will drop, say to 40%, thus making the air further from saturation allowing the air to contain more water.
Relative humidity is the ratio of partial pressure to vapour pressure. Both the partial pressure of water and the vapour pressure increase when you increase temperature, but the vapour pressure increases more rapidly than the partial pressure of water. The result is that for a given increase in temperature, the vapour pressure increases more than the partial pressure, thus lowering the relative humidity. This results in warmer air that can contain more moisture, but to express it like that is inexact, but it will do as inexact shorthand for the process that I have described.
By the way the Sahara is only warm in day time, when relative humidity can reach about 30%. At night when temperatures drop to near freezing relative humidity falls, for the reasons I have stated, to about 4%.