UK storms and floods – a post-mortem

With the Somerset Levels still flooded and the Thames Valley drying out, it is time to try and consolidate the evidence for the underlying causes of these events that are a catastrophe for those affected.

4 factors underpin the recent floods. Anthropogenic global warming is not one of them.

  1. Flood management engineering
  2. Heavy sustained rainfall
  3. Natural climate variability
  4. Exceptional tides

Figure 1 Composite image of the River Parrett in Burrowbridge in the early 1960′s (top left) when dredging was carried out on a regular basis, a recent picture before the current flooding event showing the encroaching river banks (bottom left) and during the recent flooding. Caption and Photo from Wattsupwiththat based on a comment originally posted on Bishophill.

Flood management and engineering

I am dealing with flood management and engineering first since without the floods the winter storms of 2014 would have received significantly less media and political attention. There are three main affected areas 1) the Somerset Levels, 2) the Thames Valley downstream from Windsor and 3) coastal areas of SW England. The possible exacerbation of coastal flooding by exceptional high tides is dealt with in the final section.

The Somerset Levels

The Somerset levels are areas of low lying land that have been recovered from a coastal marsh by enhanced drainage and water management that according to Wikipedia began in the Middle Ages. In keeping with all recovered land, continuous maintenance is required or the land will revert to its intended state, i.e bog or shallow lakes.

Reports on a number of blogs all seem to concur that a lack of dredging in the last decade is a major cause of the current flooding. Wattsupwiththat carried an intriguing story posted originally by an anonymous commenter on Bishophill. In 1939 the Ministry of Defence (the MOD) built a munitions factory, ROF Bridgewater, by the Somerset Levels. The MOD then proceeded with some river engineering to get water to the factory and effectively assumed responsibility for water management of The Levels until 2008 when the factory was finally closed. It is claimed that the MOD understood the consequences of their withdrawal and attempted to pass this responsibility to The Environment Agency who failed in their duty to assume it. A few years later, The Levels are flooded and many lives severely disrupted if not ruined.

This story requires corroboration, but if true, then heads must surely roll at The Environment Agency.

The Thames Valley

The badly flooded part of the Thames Valley, downstream from Eton, was probably more severely flooded owing to river engineering works designed to reduce flood risks upstream.

Figure 2 The River Thames and the Jubilee River at Windsor.

This from Wikipedia:

The Jubilee River is a hydraulic channel in southern England. It is 11.6 km (7.2 mi) long and is on average 45 metres (148 feet) wide. It was constructed in the late 1990s and early 2000s to take overflow from the River Thames and so alleviate flooding to areas in and around the towns of Maidenhead, Windsor, and Eton in the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. It achieves this by taking water from the left (eastern) bank of the Thames upstream of Boulter’s Lock near Maidenhead and returning it downstream of Eton.

The Environment Agency commissioned the design and construction of the river which cost £110 million. When it was formed, the channel was the largest man-made river project ever undertaken in Britain, and the second largest in Europe.

Whilst it would be wrong to blame the flooding on the Jubilee River it will most certainly have made things worse in the affected areas whilst reducing or preventing flooding in the areas upstream from Eton as it was designed to do.

In summary, the flooding in Somerset and the Thames Valley has been caused or made worse by The Environment Agency.

Heavy sustained rainfall

The main cause of the flooding was of course heavy sustained rainfall. It was not the result of a single “catastrophic event” but the cumulative impact of successive storms brought in by a fast moving jet stream that was further south than “normal”. The reason for this is dealt with in the next section.

Statistics for “heavy sustained rainfall” can be sliced and diced in a number of ways. The most readily accessible statistic is monthly rainfall for England and Wales (Figure 3). These show that January 2014 was very wet, up there with wettest months on record, but in no way exceptional or unprecedented. But this can mask important local and temporal variations. For example a couple of counties may have had exceptional rainfall over a week or two. But this can hardly be used as evidence for Global Warming.

Figure 3 Rainfall for England and Wales (CET data?). Provenance of chart unknown.

Had exceptional rainfall caused flooding in the Midlands, the North of England or Scotland it would not have mattered. But flooding of the Home Counties is different. This caused David Cameron to cancel a visit to The Middle East to take command of a situation that his inept Green government and its agencies are to a large extent responsible for creating.

Natural Climate Variability

A cornerstone of the climate sceptic argument that sets it apart from the IPCC global warming dogma is that sceptics assert (based on evidence) that Earth’s climate is variable at many scales. IPCC global warming orthodoxy on the other hand has managed to foster the extraordinary view that Holocene climate everywhere should somehow be uniform, unvarying. And so, when there is any deviation from that normality its is attributed to “climate change”. The term “climate change” has been adopted since the troposphere stopped warming rendering the term global warming obsolete. But here the whole debate runs into trouble since attributing the recent storms to “climate change” may in fact be correct, it is just that this climate change is natural and most probably has nothing to do with Human induced global warming.

So what are the natural forces at work? It is possible to identify symptoms of the unusually stormy period January / early February 2014 but far more difficult to pin down the physical underlying cause – especially for a solitary blogger. This should be the job of the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and other esteemed UK climate research institutes who should be sallying forth asking the question “what was the underlying physical cause of the winter 2014 storms?” One has to be concerned, however, that the Met Office will go out and try to find ways of proving that the storms were caused by global warming. Even though they dumped a mass of snow on Scotland.

The simple explanation for the UK 2014 winter storms is that a very fast moving jet stream spawned one cyclone after another off the E coast of Canada and sent them on a route along the jet stream to the UK and western Europe. And though fast moving, the jet stream trajectory was “frozen” resulting in a monotonous repetition of events.

This sequence appears to be linked to the active polar vortex that was over Canada and the USA but has since moved over Greenland. The active polar vortex appears to be linked to a cold polar stratosphere which is tempting to link to The Sun, but I have been told from an authority that this is unlikely and that stratosphere temperatures in any given year are more likely controlled by dynamic (i.e. circulation) than radiative variations. Thus a physical explanation for the root cause of the January storms remains elusive. However, it seems likely that a similar climatic sequence of events has happened many times before in which case there is no real reason to go hunting for a human cause other than to scapegoat government ineptitude and to excuse their risible energy policies. Paul Holmwood has numerous stories covering historic flooding events in Britain if anyone needs convincing that this has all happened before and does not require a super natural explanation.

Exceptional tides

Clive Best has been having a close look at combined lunar and solar tidal variations and had this to say:

Now consider the coastal flooding this winter which has mainly effected  western coastal regions of the  UK. The main reason for this are the unusually strong spring tides rather than global warming. These storms have tended to coincide with unusually extreme tides. Next winter such flooding is unlikely to re-occur.

Figure 4 Exceptional high Spring tides in early and late January will have added to storm surges for a few days either side of the peaks. Chart from Clive Best.

Clive sent the chart above by email and points out that the high tides at the beginning and end of January are extreme high tides perhaps 1.25 m higher than the ordinary high tide. This is linked to both Sun and Moon approaching their closest point to Earth in their respective elliptical orbits.

At the beginning and end of January therefore, and a few days either side, exceptional high tides combined with storm surge (low pressure), high winds and large waves to flood coastal areas. It is also possible that surges from storms at these times dumped sediment into the rivers draining the Somerset levels, raising the base level and thus hindering subsequent drainage.


The main human impact on recent flooding is UK government incompetence. It is not possible to exclude or include a Human caused warming component to the 2014 winter storms at this point.

I began writing this post on Monday but have been teaching at The University all week, so its taken more time to complete than planned. The Met Office has since published their own post-mortem (hat tip Burnsider) that I hope to find time to dissect in the next few days.

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22 Responses to UK storms and floods – a post-mortem

  1. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, the MOD story at WUWT originated at the Bishop Hill blog.
    The people living in those areas have been complaining for years about the lack of preventative action, although there has been a fair bit of defensive action taken, ie wall building and river bank strengthening etc.
    If they had used half the money spent on Bird Sanctuaries and “Environment” protection on prevention the floods would not have been anywhere near as bad. The same applies to the Dawlish Railway not being adequately maintained as well.
    I am not sure about the earlier north and mid country floods though and they were much worse in extent (not duration) than the west country ones.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Thanks AC, hopefully fixed that. “A ghostly message” – The Bishop likes to choose cryptic titles. “Government to blame for flooding Somerset Levels?” would be more direct. But who am I to criticise 😉

  2. Roger Andrews says:

    I checked some of the claims made in the Met Office’s February 2104 report against the Met Office’s rainfall records to see how they compared. Here are the results:

    “Scotland had its wettest December since records began in 1910.”

    According to the Met Office’s record for Scotland, which begins in 1931, December 2013 was only the fourth wettest December (1986, 1999 and 1949 were wetter).

    “(T)he statistics suggest that (January 2014) was one of, if not the most, exceptional periods for winter rainfall across England and Wales in at least 248 years.”

    According to the Met Office’s record for England and Wales January 2014 was the wettest January since 1766, but as winter months go it wasn’t exceptional. December 1868, 1876, 1914 and 1915 were wetter, and when we include all calendar months January 2014 falls to seventeenth place (the wettest month since 1766 was October 1903).

    “The two-month total (December + January) of 372.2mm for the southeast and central southern England region is the wettest of any 2-month period in the series from 1910.”

    I can’t check this claim because the Met Office doesn’t publish a record for the “southeast and central southern England region”, but according to the England and Wales record December 2013/January 2014 was the eighth wettest two-month period since 1910 and the fourteenth wettest since 1766 (the wettest was August/September 1799).

    The Met Office does, however, provide separate rainfall records for different regions of the UK. Here’s what they show:

    SE England: January 2014 was the wettest January since records began in 1873 and the eighth wettest month overall. December 2013 was the thirteenth wettest December and the 50th wettest month overall.

    SW England and Wales: January 2014 was the wettest January since records began in 1873 and the fifth wettest month overall. December 2013 was the 21st wettest December and the 73rd wettest month overall.

    Central England: January 2014 was the fourth wettest January since records began in 1873 and the 82nd wettest month overall. December 2013 was the 95th wettest December and the 1,014th wettest month overall.

    NW England: January 2014 was the ninth wettest January since records began in 1873 and the 73rd wettest month overall. December 2013 was the 31st wettest December and the 195th wettest month overall.

    NE England: January 2014 was the eighth wettest January since records began in 1873 and the 109th wettest month overall. December 2013 was the 40th wettest December and the 365th wettest month overall.

    Scotland: January 2014 was the thirteenth wettest January since records began in 1931 and the 64th wettest month overall. December 2013 was the fourth wettest December and the 20th wettest month overall.

    N Ireland: January 2014 was the eighth wettest January since records began in 1931 and the 63rd wettest month overall. December 2013 was the 37th wettest December on record and the 255th wettest month overall.

    To sum up, all of the Met Office’s “record-breaking” rainfall occurred in Southern England and Wales in January 2014, and it didn’t break many records either.

    • burnsider says:

      This is pretty much as shown in Figure 2 in the Met Office report. I suspect that some of the discrepancies between the analyses of the weather in Dec/Jan arise from exactly where lines are drawn on maps and the like (assuming the same sets of data were used throughout.)

      I missed all the bad weather myself – I was in Perth, Australia for the 2 months in question, sweltering a bit for some of the time. Perth had its hottest night on record in early January –

      and earlier the same day, the dashboard temperature display in my son-in-law’s 4×4 was showing 47C while we were driving at 80kph at 5pm just south of Perth (not scientific, I know, but I can vouch for the fact that it was *seriously* hot when we stepped out of the vehicle a few minutes later to buy some much-needed cold beer!!!). Oz also seems to have had a record 2013 –

      The UK weather was bad enough to make the Oz TV news a number of times

      • Euan Mearns says:

        I am working up to a post on changes to global circulation pattern – which is what we are seeing. Climate change everywhere, some areas warmer, some colder, some wetter, some dryer. But global average stays roughly the same. More extremes but same mean.

  3. Roger Andrews says:

    I just checked another Met Office claim: “A particularly exceptional aspect of January 2014 has been the number of days with rain across southern England (Figure 3, lower panel), which far exceeded anything previously recorded for January.”

    The Met Office must have cherry-picked the hell out of the data to get this result. The Met Office doesn’t say exactly where “southern England” is, but its published record for SE England shows 31 days with rain in January 2014, 31 days with rain in January 2008, four more Januaries with 30 days of rain, five with 29 days of rain and 10 with 28 days of rain. The MO record for SW England and Wales shows 31 days with rain in January 2014 too, but it also shows 31 days of rain in January 1936, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1988, 1990, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013. So where did the Met Office get its results from?

    Well. if you look at Figure 3, lower panel, you find that only days when rainfall exceeds 1mm get counted, but counting only these days doesn’t make it any better. SE England improves a little, with January 2014 having 26 rainy days, its closest competitor (1948) 23 and four other years 21, but January 2014 in SW England and Wales now has only 27 rainy days, placing it fourth after 1948 (30 days), 1988 (29) and 1984 (28).

    It sure would be interesting to see the boundary of the Met Office’s “southern England” region plotted up on a map.

  4. Nigel Wakefield says:

    “The active polar vortex appears to be linked to a cold polar stratosphere which is tempting to link to The Sun”

    I am no fan of Murdoch’s rag masquerading as a “news” paper, but I don’t think we can pin extreme cold weather on it!!

    On a more serious note, I take note of Euan’s comment: “I am working up to a post on changes to global circulation pattern – which is what we are seeing. Climate change everywhere, some areas warmer, some colder, some wetter, some dryer. But global average stays roughly the same. More extremes but same mean.”

    My understanding is that part of the reason for rebranding of “global warming” as “climate change” is pretty much as that stated by Euan: “more extremes with the same mean”. It does appear that globally we are experiencing more extreme weather than we are accustomed to (“we” being post-industrial mankind).

    If everyone accepts this, then the question is whether increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and its results such as warmer and more acidic oceans, greater variation in levels of Arctic sea ice extent and thickness, etc, etc are partially responsible for creating this more extreme weather, and, if so, if it is prudent to expect that the extremes will worsen if global mean temperatures (continue to) rise.

    Seemingly marginal changes can have very large effects when tipping points are reached (an example would be the release of huge amounts of methane if the Siberian permafrost thaws). Whether or not this is induced by human activity (and my view is that mankind has tipped the scale), we need to be aware of the possibilities and the resulting impacts.

    I suspect the major problem has been the rate of change. While earth has experienced higher levels of CO2 in relatively recent times (geologically-speaking), I’d be interested to know how quickly those higher levels were reached. If the process was relatively slow, relative to the incredibly rapid rises in the past ~150 years, it seems logical to expect that the earth’s ecosystems would have had time to evolve and deal with the changes. In geological terms, the recent massive rise in CO2 levels has happened in the blink of any eye leaving ecosystems no time to react. This is what concerns me about climate change

    • Euan Mearns says:

      History of the Greenland Ice Sheet: paleoclimatic insights
      Richard B. Alley a, *, J.T. Andrews b, J. Brigham-Grette c, G.K.C. Clarke d, K.M. Cuffey e, J.J. Fitzpatrick f, S. Funder g, S.J. Marshall h, G.H. Miller b, J.X. Mitrovica i, D.R. Muhs f, B.L. Otto-Bliesner j, L. Polyak k, J.W.C. White b Quaternary Science Reviews 29 (2010) 1728e1756

      Nigel, We only have 30 years satellite measurements of The Sun and these were mostly made at a time when it is known The Sun was unusually active. And so its quite simply impossible to discount dSun in climate models. SOURCE another satellite has been measuring spectral variations for only 10 years – again woefully inadequate for meaningful understanding. But these measurements have shown a drop in UV 5 times greater than expected. UV makes ozone in the stratosphere and is then also captured by it warming the stratosphere. So I am unwilling to discount dSun when variability that has perhaps not yet been observed can have a profound impact.

      The map of Greenland is from highly respected source. Can only imagine that there was immense melting of permafrost back then in the Eemian. There was no cataclysmic tipping point reached. What happened next was a new glaciation.

      You don’t know that the loss of sea ice is due to Man and you don’t if it is unusual. I have cited a paper a few times that suggested the Arctic had low sea ice during the Little Ice Age and the paper by Inesson et al (Met Office) that I have cited a few times suggests arctic warming associated with the cold events brought to Britain late 2009 and March 2013.

      You seem to think that your own life span experience of climate is what must be “normal” while Alastair Dawson’s book that I quoted from extensively in a recent post suggests that in Scotland at least, the 17, 18th and 19th centuries were far more turbulent and stormy than the quiescent 20th Century. So your life span experience may actually be anomalous and we may now be reverting to a stormier norm.

      A change in circulation that changes climate everywhere (apart from the tropics) without changing means shows that globally averaged lower troposphere temperature is a pointless metric for climate change. But this suggestion can go some way towards explaining the hokey stick controversy. The Little Ice Age in Europe may have been compensated by other parts of the world being warmer – for example, Australia.

      You don’t have to accept any of this but I think its good to have the conversation 🙂

      • Nigel Wakefield says:

        Hi Euan,

        I was trying to make a joke about your use of “The Sun” as opposed to “the sun”!. However, as they say, if you have to explain your own jokes they’re clearly not very funny….

        I agree that solar activity is very likely to play a major role in weather.

        I guess the point I was trying to make were that, although the world has been through warming phases before, it seems likely to me that this phase is a lot quicker than those experienced in previous ages. The Eemian spanned some 16,000 years – that’s a lot of time for plants and animals to adapt or migrate. The change we have seen in CO2 levels in the last 150 years seem unlikely to be paralleled in history – or am I wrong in that assumption?

        I fully accept that the weather (let’s say since the industrial revolution) “we” accept as normal may not be normal by historic terms, as you point out with reference to Scottish weather in the centuries preceding the IR (who’s to say, by the way, that the weather then wasn’t abnormal by historic standards??). I fully expect the Scots of those times to have viewed their weather as the norm!

        I accept that there are historic precedents to almost everything we are seeing. However, those precedents did not occur when there were more than 7 billion people on the planet placing a huge strain on already limited resources. If the rate of change is significantly quicker than it has been historically (whether or not caused by human activity) then I suspect that ecosystems will struggle to adapt – as I said, there’s a large difference between 16,000 years and 150 years.

        • Roger Andrews says:

          “although the world has been through warming phases before, it seems likely to me that this phase is a lot quicker than those experienced in previous ages.”

          Here’s a graph showing North Atlantic air temperatures since 1854 versus GISP2 ice core temperatures between 14,300 and 14,600 years BP, both plotted using the same time and temperature scale. I’ve converted the GISP2 18O readings into degrees C using Dansgaard’s T=(18O+13.6)/0.69 formula.

  5. Euan Mearns says:

    The major changes in the Pacific jet stream were driven by a persistent pattern of enhanced rainfall over Indonesia and the tropical West Pacific associated with higher than normal ocean temperatures in that region.

    What do folks make of this? In the Atlantic the jet stream controls the rain. In the Pacific, the rain controls the jet stream. This is just drivel.

    • Nigel Wakefield says:

      “The Southern Oscillation (S0) is an irregular “see-saw” in which atmospheric pressure and wind patterns shift across the Pacific. When normally high pressure in the eastern Pacific decreases and normally low pressure over Australia and northern Indonesia rises, conditions are right for an El Niño event to develop.

      As warm water shifts eastward, so do the convection and heavy rains caused by the increased buoyancy of air warmed by the underlying water. As warm water piles up in the east, upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water is inhibited.

      Latent heat of condensation further warms the air, which further decreases atmospheric pressure in the east, etc. The thunderstorms that have shifted from the western to the central and eastern Pacific disrupt high-level jet stream circulation by pumping warm air and moisture high into the atmosphere. This has a far-reaching effect on weather patterns.”

      While this doesn’t directly answer your question, a cursory google search indicates that the Pacific jet stream is affected by the warm air and moisture put into the atmosphere by heavy precipitation (whether in the western or eastern Pacific) which in itself is a result of ocean currents which are driven by atmospheric pressure…all seems a little circular to me, but then I’m not a weather expert….

      The Met Office pdf [ does explain the interconnection between what happens in the south-west Pacific and the north-eastern Atlantic (though I admit to not being nearly bright enough to understand it all..):

      “La Nina corresponds to the cold phase of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle in which sea
      surface temperatures along the Peruvian coast and across the equatorial East Pacific are colder than
      normal; concurrently sea surface temperatures in the West Pacific tend to be warmer than normal.
      This change in the pattern of sea surface temperatures drives more rainfall and active weather
      systems over the warm waters of the West Pacific and Indonesian seas, and the global effects are felt
      as far as the UK through teleconnections involving changes in planetary waves and hence the position
      of the jet stream”

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Nigel, thanks for this, I will be more cautious now in what I say about it. But if the Polar Vortex is the cause of the unusually active Atlantic jet then it seems likely to me that it must at least be implicated in the Pacific Jet.

        • Nigel Wakefield says:

          From skimming the Met report, I understand that the Polar Vortex was not the primary cause of the active Atlantic jet stream, they imply it’s more an effect of what happened in the Pacific but that the Polar Vortex maybe increased the severity of the storms… Throw in for good measure the effects of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation and it becomes quite clear very quickly that global weather is both hideously complicated and more than a little interwoven….

    • Roger Andrews says:

      “This is just drivel.”

      Is it? Let’s check. According to the Met Office the recent wet weather in UK was caused by shifts in the North Atlantic jet stream, the shifts in the Atlantic jet stream were caused by shifts in the North Pacific jet stream and the shifts in the North Pacific jet stream were caused by higher than normal ocean temperatures in the tropical West Pacific. Therefore we should see a link between UK rainfall and tropical West Pacific SSTs, right?

      And we don’t (note that I’ve defined the tropical West Pacific as 20N-20S and 140E-180E). The correlation between the two is almost exactly zero. So yes, it is indeed drivel.

      The recent wet weather in UK is exactly that – weather. It has nothing to do with climate. And as far as weather is concerned:

      Whether the weather be cold
      Whether the weather be hot
      Whether the weather be dry
      Whether it raineth a lot
      We must weather the weather
      Whatever the weather
      Whether we like it or not


      • Euan Mearns says:

        Wot, only 3 decimals for the correlation?

        A friend has been making some enquiries about Lord Smith, Chairman of The Environment Agency and found he has a degree in English Literature and Poetry from Oxbridge which is clearly just what you need to run a science and engineering department. With literary skills like what you have got you could maybe get that job 🙂

        It would be interesting to know what qualifications the authors of this Met report have. It is not obvious that any of those involved in writing the summary are scientists. The summary does not in fact summarise what is in the report.

        • Roger Andrews says:

          On Lord Smith:

          He wanders lonely as a cloud
          The jet stream brings in from the west
          But all the same he is allowed
          To put the science to the test

          He does his best, but poets don’t
          Care much for getting facts in line
          He’d do a better job but won’t
          By writing Agency reports in rhyme

          Do I get the job?

  6. Euan Mearns says:

    I am writing a hatchet job on the Met Office report, soon done. Just wanting to check that I’ve got this bit correct. If this is correct it is really quite extraordinary.

    Sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm in the last 100 years. With the warming we are already committed to over the next few decades, a further 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030. This equates to 23-27cm (9-101⁄2 inches) of total sea level rise since 1900.

    12 cm in 100 years translates to 1.2 mm per year of sea level rise along the English channel over the past 100 years. The Met Office is now suggesting that this is going to accelerate to 13.5 cm (median) in the next 16 years giving a rate of 8.4 mm per year until 2030. This represents an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise of 700% that is forecast to start happening tomorrow! This must surely be total drivel.

    The land in northern Britain is still rising following melting of the ice (this process is called isostatic rebound). A compensating flow in the lithospheric mantle results in the land of southern Britain actually sinking at an estimated rate of 5 cm per century. This results in a change of relative sealevel. It is not made clear in the Met Office report if this is accounted for in their 12 cm per century estimate, I suspect not, leaving a very modest 7 cm per century rise in sea level that may be attributed to a change in ocean water volume.

    In the main body of the report the authors do discuss the exceptional Spring tides of early and late January but in the summary instead choose to present drivel on sea levels. Clive Best has estimated that the additional tidal height caused by rare alignments of Earth, Moon and Sun may have added over a meter to the normal Spring tide events. If correct this will have added significantly to coastal flooding and is totally unconnected to manmade global warming.

    • Roger Andrews says:


      I wrote a comment about this a short time ago but don’t remember where I put it, so here goes again.

      The longest tide gauge record in S England is Newlyn in Cornwall, which starts in 1916. Since 1916 relative sea level at Newlyn has risen by ~170mm and the rate of rise has been effectively constant. However, the land around Newlyn is reportedly sinking at about 1mm/year, and if so ~100mm of the rise would have been caused by land subsidence. Absolute, or eustatic, SLR would have contributed only ~70mm.

      Adding the Met Office’s 2030 SLR projections to the Newlyn record gives bizarre results whether or not we correct for vertical land movement. One has to wonder what they were smoking:

      The vertical land motion map comes from:

      Maybe more later.

  7. Phillip Bratby says:

    I think blaming it on Government incompetence is a bit simplistic. A lot of the flooding in the Somerset levels is deliberate policy. See

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