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back to article The supercomputers LIED: UK rainfall is rising, but won't drown our phones

UK rainfall fell well short of the ITU's apocalyptic predictions in 2010, and isn't rising as fast as models predicted, according to Ofcom which has been measuring the levels in jam-jars. Ofcom's numbers come from rainfall gauges - jam jars with rulers stuck to the side - and cover 1990 to 2010 (1991-2011 in Scotland and NI), …

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Data

Good. Someone concerned about short term accuracy of the data, and without much of an agenda to get any specific answer (other than one that matches the future). A case where the people making the projections will be around to see the results of their work too.

Models are necessary, but they're usually not quite right.

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Coat

I'm glad I don't live in Brighton

But I always thought that the Lake District was the wettest place in the UK?

<-- a waterproof one.

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Re: I'm glad I don't live in Brighton

I thought this just showed trend changes, not overall rainfall..

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Re: I'm glad I don't live in Brighton

A surprising number of places around the UK like to claim that... I've heard Manchester, Sheffield and Swansea claim the same thing too.

(though looking at those maps, Swansea seems the most likely of those three to take that crown)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm glad I don't live in Brighton

> I thought this just showed trend changes, not overall rainfall..

First one is rate-of-change, second one is labelled as rainfall rates in 2015, allowing for the changes.

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Boffin

"jam jars with rulers stuck to the side"

And will likely remain so for a while. The main difference these days is that fewer people are required to read the rulers due to the ubiquity of modern connected rain gauges or AWS.

Rain gauges, even the spiffy modern ones, are notoriously inaccurate for several reasons.

NB I did once enquire about a BoM-recommended AWS for home use but was told anything below $25k was a waste of time. If you live in the town with the highest rainfall in Aus (over 7 metres) you tend to pay attention to this stuff..

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WTF?

Re: "jam jars with rulers stuck to the side"

"Rain gauges, even the spiffy modern ones, are notoriously inaccurate for several reasons."

Very true, when I was about 8/9 I tried to make one out of a plastic bottle with the top 3rd cut off and stuck back on upside down.

It fell over and ended up full of snails (some of which appeared to have shells bigger than the opening to the bottle).

That was the end of my meteorological career.

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Happy

Re: "jam jars with rulers stuck to the side"

Why did you give up? In your very first attempt at science your experiment failed causing the creation of giant mutant animals!

You could have had an exciting career in nuclear or space science and people would have made films about you...

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Happy

Re: "jam jars with rulers stuck to the side"

Jam Jars with rulers stuck to the side beat Super Computers.

Nah, they're doing the experiment wrong. If you put the SuperComputer with a ruler stuck to the side out in the elements you'd measure a lot more rain.

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Well stripe me pink...

...it's not as bad as the models predict.

Who da thunk it.

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Coat

Re: Well stripe me pink...

> ...it's not as bad as the models predict.

Who expects models to be accurate? Most of them are on cocaine*.

*Allegedly

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Thumb Up

Interesting to see if this changes models with this small area, highish density data points array

Thumbs up for getting out and taking real data over a model and providing something for the model to be calibrated against.

But man, look at some of those maximum rates.

More than 39mm/hr for at least 50 mins is more than 1 inch. And this data is about the minimum about of time that could happen for at that location (0.01% is about 52 minutes).

People who live (or expect to visit) those areas had better plan their wardrobes accordingly.

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Headmaster

Time-travelling climatey-wimatey

'Temperate', surely, not 'Temporal' ?

Or does the guy really have a blue police box, maybe...

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FAIL

Re: Time-travelling climatey-wimatey

They were measuring the rate of change so that would a measurement across time, hence temporal.

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Joke

"gets in the way of the microwave"

I'm sure they have a backup.

A toaster, perhaps?

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Re: "gets in the way of the microwave"

They upgraded to a George Foreman grill instead.

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Not wanting to pour cold water on a good rant....

If I read this correctly, the graphics have nothing to do with rainfall amount (how much water falls on the ground) but are actually a measure of how often it is raining. So, if it rained a bit for 5 hours a day before but now has torrential downpours for 1 hour a day, this data will show a reduction in rainfall.....is that correct?

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Re: Not wanting to pour cold water on a good rant....

Not quite.

The data shows the increase (or decrease) in extreme rainfall events. Ofcom couldn't care less about how often it rains or the total rainfall, but extremely heavy rain is what it is apparently interested in.

The data show that the heaviest rainfall rates (the 0.01% of top rainfall rates) have generally got heavier, and therefore more likely to interfere with communications (among other problems).

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Anonymous Coward

Hang on

Let me get this right. You are saying that all these expensive and doom predicting models are not quite right according to some jam jars and rulers? And how expensive was this ground breaking kit?

I still cant believe that the real data didnt predict that expected outcome from the dog drowning cartoon. This just upsets my world view. How can reality be more truthful than selective modelling? I must go ask the priests if this is a sign from the oh great lord co2 (all bow now).

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Boffin

Dry Jam Jar Theory

Maybe global warming is causing increased evaporation from the jam jars and so making the increased rainfall seem less, erm, increased ... ?

(They wouldve thought of that, Shirley?)

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Anonymous Coward

Hold on

Apart from the fact that comparison with the ITU model is sort of spurious, because it isn't used by Ofcom, and anyway a global model that gets the heaviest rain rates right to a few mms is pretty impressive - the jam jars do show that heavy rain is getting heavier. As climate change is a left wing pinko conspiracy, this must be the result of some other factor. I expect its the heavy chemicals in those jets that they use to spread the mind numbing chemicals.

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Black Helicopters

But we were told it was going to get drier...

We've had a decade or more of being told in no uncertain terms that climate change meant that, on average, the UK would be getting drier. Plant drought tolerant gardens, gravel not grass we were told. At the same time we were told this, the data from these rain gauges was accumulating (sorry) and giving a completely different story.

I wonder if this data has surfaced because it fits comfortably with the last year of heavy rain and the changed stance of the met office.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But we were told it was going to get drier...

Except you didn't pay attention to what was said, and you still aren't. (hint: this report says nothing about rainfall quantities - its about intensity of rainfall events - so essentially the ratio of drizzle to downpour).

The conventional message has been drier summers, wetter winters in southern Britain, and there has been an emphasis on predicting that extreme events are likely to get more extreme - e.g more droughts, more floods, more intense rainfall. So if we predict drier summers drought tolerant grass and gravel are a good idea, and in a crowded country, especially in the SE,, where watering your lawn competes with all the other uses of water and keeping a little bit of water in the rivers for the odd duck or fish water resources are stretched makes sense

Whether the conventional models are right .about the detailed impacts on seasonal rainfall across these islands are right or not is a fair question, and it's complicated by the complexity of weather across the Atlantic, and the difficulty of accurately modelling the jet stream - but essentially that's weather not climate.

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Re: But we were told it was going to get drier...

...The conventional message has been drier summers, wetter winters in southern Britain, and there has been an emphasis on predicting that extreme events are likely to get more extreme - e.g more droughts, more floods, more intense rainfall. ...

Er, no. That that's the RECENT message - the one that the Global Warming believers changed to after it became apparent that their predictions were failing to come true. You have it mixed up with the 'Extreme Weather' claim, which came after they junked 'Climate Change'.

We were originally told, quite clearly, that there would be much less precipitation, then none at all, and the last breeding pairs of humans would be found in the Arctic.

Then, when that was obviously not going to happen, we were told that the new climate would involve long and continuous droughts, so we had to save water, but we weren't allowed to build reservoirs for some reason. In winter, our children would; never know what snow was.

Now that's become a laughing stock, and the current excuse for high taxes and no proper infrastructure spending is that ANY news report of unseasonal weather is caused by human 'pollution', either CO2 if it's hot, or SO2 if it's cold. And if the weather ids normal, it's CO2 AND SO2 together.

I note that NASA have just reported the results of a study into average water vapour around the world. CO2 warming theory INSISTS that it has to go up - it is this increase which causes the extra heat.

It has gone down. In one blow, the whole underpinning of the AGW scam has been disproven. But, as far as I can tell, that isn't going to stop the activists ....

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Re: But we were told it was going to get drier...

@AC You weren't listening. OFCOM are interested in intensity, but the rain gauges were also measuring QUANTITY.

To quote "and shows rainfall increasing across almost all of the UK with only a few bits of Cornwall getting drier"

And, as another commenter pointed out, the meme has changed as often as the weather. First it was hotter and drier in the UK (particularly in the south) with snow being a distant memory for all except those in the far north of Scotland. Then, when it snowed we were told that, yes or course melting Arctic ice was always going to cause colder winters because of jet stream effects. Then when we had a very wet year we were told that, overall, rainfall wasn't going to change, but it would be delivered in more extreme events.

Normally, I don't object to people getting things wrong, but when I'm beaten around the head with today's truth and am called a 'denier' because I say "show me", I deeply resent being expected to blithely accept another truth that conflicts with the earlier one and still be called a 'denier' when I quite rightly say WHAT THE FUCK.

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Measurements or modelling

Those plots cover a far greater area than the UK landmass. So how many jam jars with rulers stuck to the side do they have in the middle of the North Sea, then?? Maybe on a few oil platforms up towards Norway & Scotland, but not enough to draw countours ...

Methinks there's a bit of modelling going on there, to extrapolate the measurements out over the briny ...

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Scale...

About 12 years ago I was designing a new racing boat for myself. I wanted to know how much wind to desgn it for, so I did a bit of research in my locality, which is close to Heathrow so there's reasonable historical data. It soon became apparent to me that not only are there windy weeks and quiet weeks, and windy weeks and quit weeks, as we all know, there is a seasonal patter superimposed in that, as one would expect, but also that there are windy years and quiet years, and even windy decades and quiet decades. Amusingly you can see the effect of that in boat design, because in quiet decades boats tend to get bigger sails, but then in windy decades they don't.

Anyway, what that's now suggesting to me, now I think about it, is that the wind strength experienced is probably fractal, with natural variations continuing on both bigger and smaller scales. It doesn't seem impossible that applies to other factors in the weather. And if you are in a system of cyclic changes of ever biggesr scale, well it makes it enormously difficult to spot underlying trends within that, especially when the underlying rends are probably swarfed by the cycles.

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Anonymous Coward

tsk

Y'all missed the point - the use of jam jars cant be correct cos we all know that if its in the computer, it must be right and nothing else can be right.

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"Microwave works in the rain"

I'm not sure mine does...

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WTF?

Jam Jars in the sea?

How do they manage to get data for the sea areas?

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Joke

Re: Jam Jars in the sea?

That's easy; they put it on the bottom and measure how deep the water is!

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Facepalm

Re: Jam Jars in the sea?

Damn. It's so obvious now you mention it!

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Headmaster

"only a few bits of Cornwall"

and Devon

ftfy

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