Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rare Droughtflood Battering England as Government Resorts to Doublespeak

From The Telegraph, April 27:
Tornadoes and record-breaking storms - but we're still in drought
Forecasters have warned of property damage, traffic disruption and power cuts as storms and even the odd tornado batter the country. 
But while the Environment Agency had 13 flood warnings and 42 flood alerts in place last night, it said many areas would remain in drought for the foreseeable future because groundwater levels were still extremely low. Householders faced the bizarre situation of being at risk of flooding while at the same time being urged to save water....

...It could turn out to be the wettest April on record. Some 97mm (3.8in) of rain has been recorded so far this month — 139 per cent of the average. The record, set in 2000, is 120.3mm.

The Environment Agency said recent rain had helped to push up soil moisture levels in the South East and East Anglia. River flows have increased and most are now normal or higher, although six are still below normal....MORE
If you are getting four inches of rain per month you are not in a drought. Period.
You may have an aquifer problem, you may have a potable water problem, you may have an engineering problem.
You don't have a drought problem.
You may however  have a forecast problem.
On March 23, 2012 the U.K.'s Meteorological Office issued their three-month forecast:
Period: April – June 2012 Issue date: 23.03.12

The forecast presented here is for April and the average of the AprilMayJune period for the United Kingdom as a whole.

This forecast is based on information from observations, several numerical models and expert judgement.


The forecast for average UK rainfall slightly favours drierthanaverage conditions for AprilMayJune as a whole, and also slightly favours April being the driest of the 3 months.

With this forecast, the water resources situation in southern, eastern and central England is likely to deteriorate further during the AprilMayJune period.

The probability that UK precipitation for AprilMayJune will fall into the driest of our five categories is 20-25% whilst the probability that it will fall into the wettest of our five categories is 10-15% (the 1971-2000 climatological probability for each of these categories is 20%).
As anyone who has ventured into the agricultural commodities pits knows, forecasting the weather is one of the dodgier intellectual pastimes one can pursue.
On April 6 the Met rolled out a new tool:
Met Office launches new forecast that tells you likelihood of rain on your barbecue
The national forecaster has previously been criticised for getting the weather wrong. Most famously in 2009 when the so-called “barbecue summer” predicted early in the year turned out to be a washout.
The furore prompted a rethink in how the weather is communicated and a proposed new US system that gives a more exact prediction of the likelihood of rain.
However there were fears that the revamp could cause even more confusion and it was launched without fanfare this week....MORE
They are now attempting to extend the reach of their expertise:
The Met Office and space weather
Even NOAA in the U.S. had to amp up the humility and dropped the paragraph they used to end their press releases:
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.