Publication Date January 15, 2016 | Carbon Brief

Linking extreme rainfall, flooding and climate change in the recent UK deluges

United Kingdom
Photo: NotarYES/ Shutterstock
Photo: NotarYES/ Shutterstock

December was an extraordinary month for the UK. Battered by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank, most northern and western parts of the country registered more than double their average rainfall. England saw its three highest ever recorded river flows on the Eden, the Lune and the Tyne...

[The] UK has become significantly warmer over the last few decades, and the link with anthropogenic emissions is unequivocal. December 2015 in the UK was the warmest in the record dating back to 1910. It was also the wettest calendar month in the last 105 years, the Met Office recently announced. In a warming world, we expect an intensification of rainfall since, put simply, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. There is mounting evidence for an increase in heavy rainfall in the UK over the last 40 years or so. In fact, the preliminary results of an attribution study released just yesterday claim to show human activity made the heavy December rainfall 50-75% more likely