Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Last year's English floods no longer warming related.

England, in 2007, was relatively wet. The stories in the press were about how global warming was responsible for increased rain and more flooding. The Independent said: “It’s official: the heavier rainfall in Britain is being caused by climate change...” They said the rain was “generated by man-made global warming.” They noted that “computer models” on warming theory said England would have more flooding.

At the time the BBC reported then that “The Environment Agency says global warming means we face extreme floods more regularly in the future.”

Now, the latest reports on the flooding dismiss the claim that global warming had anything to do with the floods. What was the “in” cause last year is discarded this year. Apparently forty years of data on rain and flooding “found there appears to be a trend of less summer flooding.”

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology conducted the study. Terry Marsh, of the center, noted that the rainfall last year “fueled speculation that flood risk is increasing due to global warming. Due to the inherent variability of the UK climate, any extreme hydrological event cannot readily be linked directly to climate change.” Mr. Marsh also said the the floods last year do “not form part of any clear historical trend or show consistency with currently favored climate change scenarios.”

Marsh even uttered some heresy. He suggested that warming might have a “silver lining”. The Guardian says this is because “drier summers could limit the winter flood period because the soil would absorb more water.” The actual report says, “the impact of global warming on UK fluvial flood risk is unlikely to be entirely malign.” They note that warmer winters would spread out water run-off over a longer period lessening the risk of a sudden melt causing flooding, which was responsible for the severe floods in 1947. The report also said: “Warmer, drier summers could also be beneficial: the resulting very dry soil conditions could help to moderate fluvial flood risk by restricting the length of the winter flood season.”

The BBC reported: “Summers do not appear to be getting wetter -- in fact there was more summer raid around during the 19th Century than there is today.”

Just last year the Environment Agency was quick to point to climate change (aka: warming) as being behind the flooding. This year they responded to this report by saying, “we cannot attribute last summer’s flood to climate change, climate change predictions mean we can expect to see more extreme weather events such as flooding in the future.

While other British newspapers have run this story yesterday, the Independent, has said nothing. Last year they were quick to blame flooding on global warming. This year their stories are debunked rather thoroughly and they can’t find two inches of space to mention it. I would assume, that with each that passes, the chances of them reporting that their own alarmist stories of last year were wrong is diminishing.