Extreme Rainfall - Is it increasing?


As we wait for Met Office figures for last year, which may confirm that 2012 was the wettest since records began, there are indications of a greater frequency of extreme rainfall events.

Normally an extreme rainfall event would be considered one that happened one in a hundred times, but now the same intensity seems to be happening on a one in seventy frequency.  Former President of the Society, Professor Julia Slingo of the Met Office commented on recent rainfall saying, "There's evidence to say we are getting slightly more rain in total, but more importantly it may be falling in more intense bursts”.  Obviously this causes many problems and increased flood-risk. Any change in weather and climate patterns can be problematic to plants and animals that have evolved to thrive in a different climate and things like crops and gardens can be expected to be affected by more extreme rainfall events.  Professor Slingo added "We have always seen a great deal of variability in UK extreme rainfall because our weather patterns are constantly changing, but this analysis suggests we are seeing a shift in our rainfall behaviour." 

"It's essential we look at how this may impact our rainfall patterns going forward over the next decade and beyond, so we can advise on the frequency of extreme weather in the future and the potential for more surface and river flooding.

"This will help inform decision-making about the need for future resilience both here in the UK and globally."

As the atmosphere warms it is able to hold more moisture, leading to heavier rainfall.



News Date: 
Thursday, January 3, 2013