Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, has linked the record rainfall to an even more troubling (and expensive) trend: climate change. Although declining to comment on the specifics of Storm Desmond, her statement for the Met Office news blog made it clear that, "all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record breaking winter rainfall". Shrubsole's concerns are backed up by science. After the storms of 2013/14, researchers studied winters with similar conditions and found evidence to suggest that extreme rain events are seven times more likely than on a planet which is not experiencing global warming. Another study concluded that, if emissions stay high, wet UK winters would be 25 per cent more likely.
| Environmental Research Letters
Super Storm Desmond: a process-based assessment
| Centre for Ecology and Hydrology | British Hydrological Society
The winter floods of 2015/2016 in the UK - a review
Dec 5, 2016 | The Independent
Britain just experienced the most extreme flooding on record
UK Climate Projections science report: Climate change projections