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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Record breaking rainfall for October-Why heavier rainfall will become the norm

We love to moan about our weather, grey overcast days are as British as package holidays to Spain.

UK tourists made over 18 million trips to Spain in 2019, but perhaps that’s understandable when we get over 130 days of rain per year.

You may have noticed that October has been a particularly dreary month in terms of English weather, with the country receiving 87% of its average rainfall by October the 13th.

South east and central southern regions were particularly hard hit exceeding 110% of expected rainfall.

Saturday 3rd of October was the wettest day for 130 years receiving enough rainfall to completely fill Loch Ness!

Heavier rainfall will become the norm

Unfortunately weather like this is set to become the norm according to climate experts.

“There is a crystal-clear analysis that shows, decade by decade, we have more of these extremes,” says Simon Papalexiou, a professor of civil, geological and environmental engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.

The professor is the lead author in a study proving a continual rise in the frequency of heavy storms.

The study shows that heavy rain has become more common since 1950, when global warming started to speed up.

Increased rainfall, apart from being depressing is also damaging.

It can devastate communities by disrupting agriculture through crop destruction, contribute to road accidents, cause sewers to overflow etc.

“Flash floods, landslides, infrastructure destruction, outbreaks of waterborne disease, water contamination, traffic chaos” are all potential consequences of excessive rain, Papalexiou said.

He warns that cities need to re assess their flood defences in preparation for the future, particularly through the use of natural means like cultivating marshland, which can absorb flood water.

“We need long-term resilience strategies,” says Papalexiou. “We can’t wake up tomorrow and decide to fix this issue.”

Last year eight firms took up the mantle of coastal and flood protection in Britain, leading a £2.6bn programme targeted at protecting some 300 000 homes identified as vulnerable.

Will McBain, is the associate director for Arup, one of the eight firms involved. He warns that:

“With the ever more frequent threats posed to people and the environment by climate change, the work of the Environment Agency in driving adaptation has never been more important.” 

Close to 10% more rain fell than was forecast between 2004 and 2013, so it is to be expected that the flood defence budget will continue grow over the next decade.

Sources:

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2020/mid-october-statistics

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/heavy-rains-are-rise-around-world-here-s-why-ncna1016961

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