By Paul Homewood
Will climate change make UK winter floods more severe?
This is a question often asked. There are many reasons why river levels can reach higher levels than before, including the concreting of drainage areas upstream and flood prevention which often simply shifts the problem downstream.
But is the rainfall more severe now? There is no evidence of this in monthly or daily totals. But often the main factor that causes flooding is the accumulation of rain over a period of time rather than a single major storm.
The European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECA&D) provides some good tools for analyzing precipitation data, especially the 5-day Peak Total Rainfall for each year.
I’ve used this to analyze precipitation for the winter half-year, October to March, for most long-running stations in the UK.
The trend is sideways or even down.