The Prime Minister said more frequent ‘extreme weather events’ driven by climate change were the main driver as Cumbria and the north braces for more hell. However experts branded his comments “ludicrous excuses” blaming lack of investment on flood defences for the disaster and pointed to historic flooding which pre-dated global warming. Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, slammed the Prime Minister for shrouding the real problem of poor flood defences with excuses. He said: “Flooding has happened through the centuries, though uncommon, what we are seeing is nothing new. The most likely explanation is that the current El Nino has thrown more moisture into the air as sea waters have evaporated over the Pacific.” –Nathan Rao, Daily Express, 29 December 2015
Based on a key measurement, this year’s extreme El Niño has surpassed the 1997-1998 phenomenon, making it now the strongest ever recorded. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continually monitors the warmth of the water in the central Pacific as one major indicator of an El Niño’s strength. In mid-November, the recorded temperature was the highest ever seen in the region. The New Scientist reports that during 1997′s El Niño, the central Pacific’s temperature peaked at 2.8°C above average. This year, temperatures reached 2.8°C on November 4 and then rose to 3.1°C on November 18. As of December 2, the central Pacific was still at about 2.9°C above average. Since 1950, there have been only two other El Niño winters of similar magnitude, one in 1982-1983 and another in 1997-1998. –Megan Barber, Vox Media, 8 December 2015
Amid all the devastation and recrimination over the floods in Cumbria hardly anybody mentions one factor that may not be the sole cause, but certainly hasn’t helped, and that is the almost complete cessation of dredging of our rivers since we were required to accept the European Water Framework Directive (EWF) into UK law in 2000. Yet until then, for all of recorded history, it almost went without saying that a watercourse needed to be big enough to take any water that flowed into it, otherwise it would overflow and inundate the surrounding land and houses. Every civilisation has known that, except apparently ours. It is just common sense. But all this changed with the creation of the Environment Agency in 1997 and when we adopted the European Water Framework Directive in 2000. No longer were the authorities charged with a duty to prevent flooding. Instead, the emphasis shifted, in an astonishing reversal of policy, to a primary obligation to achieve ‘good ecological status’ for our national rivers. This is defined as being as close as possible to ‘undisturbed natural conditions’. — Philip Walling, Newcastle Journal, 11 December 2015
Ever since the latest round of flooding began in Cumbria, we have been told that it has been caused by unprecedented ‘extreme weather events’ as a result of ‘climate change’. This is, of course, utter garbage. There’s nothing unprecedented about these Biblical-proportion downpours. Local records show much heavier rain in Cumbria as long ago as the 19th century. The Met Office’s own data confirms that Britain experienced greater downpours in 1929 and 1930, long before global warming was invented. No, the current misery being inflicted on the North of England by floodwater has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with official incompetence and stupidity, driven by fashionable political opinion. Political posturing always comes first. The Environment Agency is a dysfunctional bureaucracy, staffed by green zealots in Birkenstock sandals who put protected species before people. –Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail, 29 December 2015
The reduction in Arctic sea ice caused by climate change is playing a role in the UK’s recent colder and drier winter weather, according to the Met Office. Speaking to MPs on the influential environmental audit committee about the state of the warming Arctic, Julia Slingo, the chief scientist at the Met Office, said that decreasing amounts of ice in the far north was contributing to colder winters in the UK and northern Europe as well as to drought. Slingo told the MPs that more cold winters mean less water, and could exacerbate future droughts. “The replenishment of aquifers generally happens in winter and spring … a wet summer does not replenish aquifers. So we are concerned if we have a sequence of cold winters that could be much more damaging,” she told the committee. –Adam Vaughan, The Guardian, 14 March 2012
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