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« Spectator debate | Main | Steig story on Spectator cover »
Thursday
Feb172011

Myles' fludd

Lots of people pointing to the Richard Black posting on floods. This includes papers by such familiar names as Myles Allen. No time to comment myself, but here's a thread for those that want to discuss it.

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Reader Comments (90)

As this was reported in Oz:
"The scientists"
(1) investigated all other possible causes and none of them caused the floods in 2000, so it must have been carbon dioxide.
(2) Concluded that carbon dioxide didn't actually cause the floods in 2000, but made them 'twice as likely'.

I'm still puzzling how anything can make something which has in fact occurred twice as likely to occur, but I am pretty thick, so maybe....

Feb 17, 2011 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

This is all based on computer modelling - none of which has presumably been validated ...

Both studies depend heavily on the accuracy of their computer models," he told reporters.

"We need to understand better the actual physics of different flooding events and make sure that the models are able to capture this. Studies like these should be repeated as models continue to improve."

Researchers said they also needed to include other changes to the atmosphere in future analyses, such as the tiny aerosol particles of dust that reflect sunlight back into space.

I can't imagine they can even contemplate doing this work without bigger computers.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

Sherlock Holmes on post modern scientific practice.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

This was all over the 10 O'Clock news last night. My wife commented "I thought they had given up on this stuff ?"

No dear.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Monbiot and the equally-daft Louise Gray both have stories up this morning based on two papers which, in themselves, are only model runs. The fantasists are really getting desperate write about the results of model runs claiming to be evidence. And the usual believers in faeries at the bottom of their gardens are in full flood on the Grauniad's CiF. All boringly predictable, really.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

I think we've said it all on the other post. Complete and utter b**ll***s. There is no science here at all, which is why it is reported by Moonbat, Gray and Black (hmm, do I detect a colour theme here). They have not one shred of scientific expertise between them.

The warmists are showing more and more desperation with these articles that fool no-one, except the water melons.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

"a phenomena that influences precipitations in a global scale - and the only thing we can think of is the changing composition of the atmosphere."

Where have we heard that before? Is this really the best we can do and worthy of headline news? The output of unvalidated models (even falsified?) is practically worthless.

"For decades scientists have believed that on a global scale, a warmer world should be a wetter one,"

So why were they forecasting drought and building desalination plants prior to the Queensland floods then?

Why has after the event hindcasting achieved such prominence? That's not science is it. I suggest they get back to hypothesis-prediction-test.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterSimonW

Just posted this over on the Monbiot thread:

Not saying you're cherry-picking or anything George, but when I learned that the Oxford University Study had used a computer specifically programmed to find global warming caused for all events (the Met Office computer that couldn't even get the dust clouds correct last year) I had a look for papers by others writing in the field, specifically for those that had done field work. Didn't take long and found this:


Czymzik, M., Dulski, P., Plessen, B., von Grafenstein, U., Naumann, R. and Brauer, A. 2010. A 450 year record of spring-summer flood layers in annually laminated sediments from Lake Ammersee (southern Germany). Water Resources Research 46: 10.1029/2009WR008360.

Czymzik et al. (2010) write that "assumptions about an increase in extreme flood events due to an intensified hydrological cycle caused by global warming are still under discussion and must be better verified," while noting that some historical flood records indicate that "flood frequencies were higher during colder periods (Knox, 1993; Glaser and Stangl, 2004), challenging the hypothesis of a correlation between the frequency of extreme floods and a warmer climate." Thus, they decided to further explore the relationship between level of warmth and degree of flooding as it may have manifested itself in southern Germany over the past 450 years.

Working in Lake Ammersee in southern Germany (48°00'N, 11°07'E), which is fed primarily by the River Ammer, Czymzik et al. retrieved two sediment cores from the deepest part of the lake in June of 2007 that they analyzed via what they describe as "a novel methodological approach that combines microfacies analyses, high-resolution element scanning (µ-XRF), stable isotope data from bulk carbonate samples (δ13Ccarb, δ18Ocarb), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses (Brauer et al., 2009).

Their conclusions:

"an increase in extreme flood events due to an intensified hydrological cycle caused by global warming is simply not correct. In fact, it appears to be 180 degrees out of phase with reality in a substantial majority of the studies that have been conducted to date."

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

The BBC need an on screen warning if they're going to put so much nonsense in one 10-o-clock news programme.

"Warning this programme contains climate hyperbole which may cause extreme irritation for people of a logical disposition"
=======================

"A research team led from Oxford University ran computer models of the atmosphere as it actually was"

Did they, really?

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Models, models, models! When will they learn that they prove nothing?

There is an old saying from IBM: The problem with simulation is that it is like masturbation: the more you do it, the more you confuse it for the real thing.

One of my teachers was John Raser - one of Kissinger's students who worked for RAND on missile simulation, before dropping out and becoming a peacenik. He wrote a book called 'Simulation and Society', which I must revisit.

Confession time: I wrote an essay for Raser on how we could dismantle the military-industrial complex. I suggested that we needed a new mission to occupy all those physicists and mathematicians employed on missiles and the space program, and suggested that environmental protection would provide sufficient complexity, challenge and (importantly) employment. Be careful of what you wish for, I guess.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

matthu, 09:05

I can't imagine they can even contemplate doing this work without bigger computers.

If I understand the story they used lots of other people's computer time to do the work:

"Just hand your computer over to us and we'll let you help us save the world! Free of course. Mind you, a big shiny new computer would help us do the job quicker and better ... "

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Bates

I think it is called BBC BASIC

The execution of this IF-THEN-ELSE-END IF statement goes as follows:

the logical-expression is evaluated, yielding a logical value
if the result is .TRUE., the statements in statements-1 are executed
if the result is .FALSE., the statements in statements-2 are executed
after finish executing statements in statements-1 or statements-2, the statement following END IF is executed.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Geronimo,
Sorry, but those are observational data. They simply do not compare with computer model runs. Have you learned nothing? You are clearly a denier, and probably also a homophobe!

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

Sir Brian Hoskins from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change Research has commented, "Both studies depend heavily on the accuracy of their computer models."

LoL.......................Damning words.

Peering hard into computer screens is not science.

These climate scientists(?) should stick to Super Mario.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I have a problem with the increased precipitation theory of global warming anyway. I fully agree that a warming world will entail more water vapour, and indeed that that should lead to more precipitation. Now take these two factoids and add in the fact that the world should warm more at the poles causing the temperarture gradient to decrease across the hemispheres, which will mean that the temperate zones will also go warmer with respect to the tropics, and the tropics, from the historical findings for the Eocene should remain pretty much as they are now in terms of temperature. What have we got? Warm weather spreading northwards and southwards from the equator, with lots of water vapour. Warm weather and water, along with an enriched CO atmosphere would appear to give us an abundant increase of arable land. And certainly no droughts. This looks good to me, but then I'm not guilty about my presence on earth.

The second issue with these two papers is that they are, at least in my view, right about the increase in precipitation, but what has happened in the Andes, Alps and Himalayas where at elevations above 10000 feet there appears to have been no increase in precipitation causing the glaciers to recede?

It's all very perplexing, why would our scientists ignore the obvious benefit of the increase in arable land, reduction in tropical storms (reduced temperature gradient between poles and equator), and lack of drought when forecasting the future for us?

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

The lawyers are rubbing their hands.

The work makes lawsuits against major polluters more likely, said barrister Richard Lord QC, an expert on climate litigation at Brick Court Chambers in London: "Showing that the chance of an event occurring has increased by say 100% or 200% gives you a much better chance of showing causation. It gets you around one of the legal obstacles."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/16/climate-change-risk-uk-floods

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

www.bom.gov.au

Strong La Niña conditions persist across the tropical Pacific. Computer models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the current La Niña event will persist into the southern hemisphere summer. For routine updates and comprehensive discussion on any developments regarding El Niño and La Niña, please see the ENSO Wrap-Up.

i.e. high chance of extreme rain in Eastern Australia.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJerry

Ok warming causes more floods so I raise you Global Cooling causes cannabalism.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/8326115/Ice-age-Britons-ate-each-other-and-made-cups-from-skulls.html#

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air

Ainsley my apologies, I shouldn't taint the debate with observations, I don't know what came over me. As for being a denier, I own up to that, I have always had a denying streak in me, a strict Catholic education left me with the clear view that if there was a God, the last thing he'd/she'd have would be a religion. Oh and by the way I came across the same logic we've seen in the IPCC, where the temperature has gone up and the CO2 has gone up it must be the CO2 that caused the increase, unless we can prove otherwise. It went like this: The world had a beginning there is no reasonable explanation for the beginning (still isn't) so there must be a God unless we could prove otherwise. To be fair they also pointed out that the forecast in the Apocolypse, you know famine, disease, wars and droughts etc. were common place events that had happened through history, and that there had never been an instant where when these disasters weren't visited upon us in history, so we were warned to take such predictions with a pinch of salt. Sound familiar to you?

The new meme is that we're all homophobic, anti-science, pro-life, creationist, flat-earthers who regularly evict widows from their tied cottages into the gutter because we want to keep our hounds in the cottage.

Not only that we have, by our complete absence, and silence at Copenhagen and Cancun, somehow or other stopped the world taking action against climate change. As if.

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Geronimo, new post at WUWT today.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/17/regarding-thermodynamics-and-heat-transfer-why-al-gore%E2%80%99s-comments-to-bill-o%E2%80%99reilly-at-fox-news-are-wrong/

"CONCLUSIONS
The claims made by Al Gore and other “climate scientists” that state this year’s heavy snowstorms in the USA and across the world were caused by warmer ( and thus the claim of more moist ) air “colliding” with cold air ( and according to the claims are “proof” of human caused ,CO2 induced ) are proven here to be false.

In every example used, it is the amount of COLD air placed adjacent to a source of warm air that is the true catalyst in generating precipitation anywhere on the earth, and the amount of precipitation generated is relative to the absolute humidity of the warmer airmass LIFTED by the adjacent source of cold air. So in this regard, it does not matter if an external source of energy added more water vapor to a warm airmass or not. The only exception to this is at tropical latitudes where the precipitation process is induced by COOLING the air ABOVE the ground rather than adjacent to it."

Feb 17, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

I resent the accusation that I have ever evicted any widow from any cottage.

They are an essential asset in keeping the hounds warm at night in these austere times!

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

This has also been reported in The Independent (and Nature)


The research, published in Nature, reveals there was a two-in-three chance that the odds of flooding that year were increased by global warming by a factor of two or more. While unable to rule out the possibility that the floods could have happened even if the atmosphere had been unpolluted by greenhouse gases in preceding decades, scientists believe the study brings them closer to being able to work out the real-time impact of climate change rather than the long-term predictions which are normally used.

What I read from this paragraph is that the result was not statistically significant above 67% - is that right?

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Geronimo,
Since you have confessed, I'm sure the Bishop will grant you absolution!

Slightly off-thread, there's an interesting article at American Thinker pointing to what seems to be the first characterisation of AGW as apocalyptic. Unfortunately for those readers of the Grauniad who think that denial is a a right wing plot, this came from an old Nazi:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/the_nazi_origins_of_apocalypti.html

I discussed the Green Hue of Nazism in my book, but was unaware that they were so keen on AGW. Note, however, that my point was that there is no necessary connection between fascism and environmentalism, but the removal of the separation between the public and the private in classical liberalism that made environmental fascism dangerous. The older I get, the more fond I have become of liberal democracy. Even though I want decent levels of environmental protection, I recognise that ending liberal democracy in its name si too high a price — and, anyway, destroys the capacity of society to learn of and from its mistakes.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

"What I read from this paragraph is that the result was not statistically significant above 67% - is that right?"

No I think the message is that in future when there are floods there will two floods at once, two thirds of the time.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

Great excitement on TV news programmes last evening, though Sky did make the point that the work suggested greenhouse gases 'could' have increased the likelihood of the flooding. But once again, as others have commented, we are treated to just more runs of computer models based purely on a simple cause and effect hypothesis and still unverified. Nevertheless, it was enough to bring out wild eyed Huhne to say this proved the disastrous effects of AGW. He also used the 'd' word and said how it showed just how wrong we were. He made some point about deniers hoping the whole thing would go away. My wife commented that "he didn't look quite the ticket."

I recently wrote to my MP about taxpayer subsidised CC&S and wind generation. My MP passed the letter to Huhne. I said that I was disappointed with the continuing blind obedience that this government gave to the catastrophic AGW hypothesis. Mr Huhne answered this by ensuring me that the science was still being scrutinised. But then concluded that, I quote “…considerable changes in the earth’s climate are on going, and that these changes will continue and their impacts worsen as long as we humans continue to force the climate system with our greenhouse gas emissions.” In other words, manmade greenhouse gas emissions are causing alarming and dangerous climate change. No change there then. So, on with more wind mills. More carbon capture and storage research. And, as always, on with more subsidies paid for by already overtaxed workers.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

All this talk of 67% reminds me of a MET office forecast ;)

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of fresh air

Aynsley Kellow

Do, please, keep on repeating this in comments here as often as you can bear:

Note, however, that my point was that there is no necessary connection between fascism and environmentalism, but the removal of the separation between the public and the private in classical liberalism that made environmental fascism dangerous. The older I get, the more fond I have become of liberal democracy. Even though I want decent levels of environmental protection, I recognise that ending liberal democracy in its name [is] too high a price — and, anyway, destroys the capacity of society to learn of and from its mistakes.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Aynsley

A conclusion that I arrived at from various sources is that history has repeated itself.

Rather than the extremes of the German political system founded the green movement or that the green movement was instrumental in formulating policy in that period there was a merging of resources for independent results. The greens witnessed the rise of a popular political movement whose leader loved the countryside and could further their cause of environmental protection. The political movement realised the numbers of the green movement could help to swell their popularity and also be useful in introducing it's own policy, not unpopular with the green movement, of saving the planets resources by population control.

The same is apparent today with the whoring of the green movement to any main stream political ideals as a joint force to achieve what would be thought of as generally incompatible goals.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

It is interesting, is it not, that Allen & co saw fit to speak up just a week or so after the government announced that there would be a review of spending on flood defences in the UK.

Or am I reading too much into this?

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Aynsley - the IBM quote is a classic. I wouldn't mind the suggestion you made in your essay for Raser, if the desired environmental protection was just that - there are many problems with habitat destruction, and pollution from heavy metals, poor resource management etc., which are being ignored because of the funding and favours extended to those on the CO2 bandwagon.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

So let me get this right - clever scientists at Oxford University created a model which included variables CO2 and flooding. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

The river Thames flows through Oxford

There were big flood events in 2000/1 and 2003, but the biggest floods recorded were in 1947 and 1892 or 4.

How could they have missed this? Is this consistent with AGW theory, probably not

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Feb 17, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Aynsley Kellow

You self-doubter, you.

There will soon be a release of a remake movie of "Atlas Shrugged". My Penguin paperback is 1168 pages, but you should be able to concentrate for 2 hours rolling Jaffas down the aisles.

When you are feeling that you are straying from the path, go back to Ayn Rand. It's therapeutic and didactic.

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

Models - models - models ... but not of the kind to attract Silvio Berlusconi ...

Here is a very valuable take on models - a bit heavy-going but definitely thought-provoking:

http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/

Well worth studying!

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

In Queensland a few weeks ago there were severe, but not record floods around Brisbane. Those at Toowoomba were at the east edge of an escarpment that drains to the west. The Brisbane valley floods were from an adjacent rainfall, but one that flowed to the east. The division between the two systems, a N-S line, is sharp; a move of a km in the rain source will affect one basin or the other.

The question is, when did the supercomputer models reach a resolution of a km?

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

lapogus - pollution from heavy metals.

Do you have any acceptable figures on whether this is a true hazard or a whipping boy?

What's your favourite poison? Why?

Always remember Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, born 1493.

Alle Ding' sind Gift, und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, daß ein Ding kein Gift ist.
"All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

With this level of model accuracy it won't be long before the UKMO will be able to provide us with the monthly flood forecasts for this year.
How about we save some money and publish for them.

For the months of March through October the following probabilities of rainfall are expected throughout all regions of the UK:

33% chance of limited rainfall
33% chance of moderate rainfall
33% chance of heavy rainfall

For those with a fee paying subscription service the following amended figures apply:

33.33% chance of limited rainfall
33.33% chance of moderate rainfall
33.33% chance of heavy rainfall

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Ace Reporter Black says:

"That autumn saw the highest rains in England and Wales since records began in 1766.

The Hampshire village of Hambledon was underwater for six weeks, and insurers put the final cost to the country at more than £1bn."

It took me about 20 minutes to find this:
---------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.leics.gov.uk/flood_risks_in_parishes.pdf

Each of the specific rainfall events caused widespread disruption due to surface water overwhelming land and highway drainage systems and watercourses inundating flood plains.

Additionally, as winter rains continued ground water levels became very high in the chalk catchments. This resulted in a number of villages being flooded directly from the rising groundwater.

Ordinary watercourses where a lack of appropriate maintenance could cause significant risk of flooding are being agreed between the operating authorities as ‘Critical OrdinaryWatercourses’ and will receive a higher standard of inspection.

Hambledon is located at the bottom of a chalk valley, along the course of an ancient river. The village has suffered frequent groundwater flooding since records have been kept.

Hambledon has had 4 serious groundwater flood events – ground floors of properties under water in the last 40 years (report dated 2002)
-----------------------------------

In other words, the flooding might have been made worse because the many (at least 6) authorities with responsibility for maintenence probably assumed that somebody else was cleaning drains and clearing watercourses, consequently nobody did it.

Also, serious groundwater flooding had occurred in Hambledon 4 times since 1962, ie well before CAGW was invented.

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Just to add, talking to a local farmer recently about the flooding on his land, he opined that it had been much worse in recent years since the Environment Agency had stopped clearing fallen trees and other debris from local rivers as a cost cutting measure.

I assume this variable was factored into the clever scientists' models?

Feb 17, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

On the BBC's Science & Environment website, which featured Richard Black's article, yesterday (its disappeared today) was another 'report' that said that global warming was going to cause more droughts in Africa...
Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice....

Feb 17, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

For decades scientists have believed that on a global scale, a warmer world should be a wetter one, as warm air holds more moisture than cold air.

But the researchers say this is the first "formal identification" of the link between emissions and intense rains.

This is such bullsh!t. I moved to New Hampshire in 2005, I have been amazed at the amount of rain this place gets. Wouldn't the above logic also imply that a wetter climate would lead to a warmer climate? And this year, I am burning through heating oil like no other year since I have been here because it has been so damn cold. And so my point, with everything else in my life being the same (driving, recreation, electrical use), I am emitting much more greenhouse gas this year due to the cold.

From my point of view in my little neck of the woods. Warmer weather leads to less greenhouse emissions. Colder weather leads to more greenhouse emissions. And the rain falls on the AGW believer and the skeptic all the same. It all balances out. Have a nice day.

Feb 17, 2011 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I wish they would make the bloody minds up , do these people known how long it takes to build a ark , just getting hold of wood takes ages and have you tried to lay your hands on two tree sloths in a hurry.

Feb 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

After looking at some photos of Worcester flood marks (highest flood in 1770, higher than 2000 or 2007) linked from 'History of Flooding' at the website An Englishman's Castle, I googled "Flood levels, Worcester" and found several other photos of historical flood marks.

I guess this weather stuff has been going on since before our Industrial Age, maybe even since the last ice age?

Feb 17, 2011 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerekP

It's interesting that the Guardian CiF moderators on the Moonbat's trivia are up to their old tricks again, deleting posts that are of a politely disbelieving variety. Kind of irritating, but not unexpected.

Feb 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

KnR

Did you have this in mind?

"And Noah said unto the Lord, The gopher wood is definitely in the warehouse. Verily, and the gopher wood supplier waiteth only upon his servant to find the invoices before he delivereth the gopher wood unto me."

http://www.lupus.org.uk/pdfs/charles%20dance%20reading.pdf

Feb 17, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDreadnought

It's interesting that the Guardian CiF moderators on the Moonbat's trivia are up to their old tricks again, deleting posts that are of a politely disbelieving variety. Kind of irritating, but not unexpected.

Feb 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Well Judith Curry is not impressed with this study or another similar one.

http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/16/attribution-of-extreme-events-part-ii/#more-2417

Feb 17, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterbreath of fresh air

Geoff - I don't have any figures about heavy metal contamination but I'm sure there are thousands of rivers around the world which have suffered - and the oceans too. Small amounts are a problem, that's why women are advised not to eat much tuna during pregnancy. Mercury is nasty stuff you know (except when they put it in a flu vaccine of course).

DerekP - yes it has, I'll re-post my comment on this subject from yesterday's Light-blogging thread:

Sunderland Steve - it's all bollocks [the Nature paper]. There have been extreme floods all over the British Isles for centuries, long before CO2 was even identified as a greenhouse gas. For example, the Tyne (Newcastle not Haddington) flood of 1771 has been estimated as being > 3000cumecs. The River Findhorn had the 'muckle spate' of 1859 - this is a comparatively small highland river with no significant tributaries, yet the flows were reckoned to be greater than the River Tay flood of 1993 (c. 2500 cumecs). The Tay itself has a long and well documented history of major flooding in Perth: the earliest recorded inundation being 1210, when spring tides and heavy rains were reported to have resulted in 'half the town being swept away'. The town has suffered some 34 significant floods between 1210 and 1993 - spread fairly evenly throughout the intervening centuries - http://www.tafac.freeuk.com/perthcon/wave.htm. IIRC an Stirling University academic (Gilvear) did a lot of research on the historical floods on the Tay (and Forth iirc) in the 1980s.

The point about the River Tay is that, as happened in January 1993, it usually takes at least a week of heavy rain/snow and then warm front to come over the whole catchment (causing simultaneous high and low level snow melt) before the flows become greater than the river channel in Perth can cope with. A major summer thunderstorm and rainfall event even over a good chunk of the catchment will not make much impact on the river level at Perth, as the river channel has plenty of spare capacity - it has to be able to drain a good chunk of the Southern Highlands, and the flood wave takes less than 24 hours to get from the Ben Lui, Glen Lyon and Rannoch hills to Perth - that's a lot of water in a short time.

Which is why the 1771 Tyne and 1859 Findhorn events are truly amazing - to have produced bigger flows than the Tay, they must have been the result of massive thunderstorm/rainfall events, of much greater magnitude than the usual winter/spring snow melt + rain floods. Hence it would seem that the recent rainfall events in Cumbria are not unprecedented or anything unusual. But people have short memories and that makes it easy for the catastrophists and the Blacks and Harrabins to equate any recent flooding with the slight warming of the late 20th century.

Feb 17, 2011 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Yes, I heard this come on the radio while I was driving home from work yesterday evening (Radio 4). I'm not sure why the BBC is continuing the hammer away at this. They don't seem to be losing interest like most other media organisations.

No mention of the rebuttal to the previous Nature article (Steig's) that they broadcast about!

Feb 17, 2011 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobinson

Lord Beaverbrook: ""CONCLUSIONS
The claims made by Al Gore and other “climate scientists” that state this year’s heavy snowstorms in the USA and across the world were caused by warmer ( and thus the claim of more moist ) air “colliding” with cold air ( and according to the claims are “proof” of human caused ,CO2 induced ) are proven here to be false."

In fact there are other questions, such as, how do we get ice-ages if there is low evaporation in cold climes? Where does the water come from for the advancing ice sheets?

Tried using the widows to warm the hounds, too boney and the Mem thought that feeding them up would be a waste of money.

Feb 17, 2011 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

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