Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute; Ministery Of Infrastructure And The Environment

Publications, presentations and other activities
Climate change increases the probability of heavy rains in Northern England/Southern Scotland like those of storm Desmond - a real-time event attribution revisited
2018
by F.E.L. Otto (University of Oxford), K. van der Wiel (KNMI), G.J. van Oldenborgh (KNMI), S. Philip (KNMI), S. Kew (KNMI)P. Uhe (University of Oxford)H. Cullen (Climate Central)

On 46 December 2015, storm Desmond caused very heavy rainfall in Northern England and Southern Scotland which led to widespread flooding. A week after the event we provided an initial assessment of the influence of anthropogenic climate change on the likelihood of one-day precipitation events averaged over an area encompassing Northern England and Southern Scotland using data and methods available immediately after the event occurred. The analysis was based on three independent methods of extreme event attribution: historical observed trends, coupled climate model simulations and a large ensemble of regional model simulations. All three methods agreed that the effect of climate change was positive, making precipitation events like this about 40% more likely, with a provisional 2.5%97.5% confidence interval of 5%80%. Here we revisit the assessment using more station data, an additional monthly event definition, a second global climate model and regional model simulations of winter 2015/16. The overall result of the analysis is similar to the real-time analysis with a best estimate of a 59% increase in event frequency, but a larger confidence interval that does include no change. It is important to highlight that the observational data in the additional monthly analysis does not only represent the rainfall associated with storm Desmond but also that of storms Eve and Frank occurring towards the end of the month.

Bibliographic data
Otto, F.E.L., K. van der Wiel, G.J. van Oldenborgh, S. Philip, S. Kew, P. Uhe and H. Cullen, Climate change increases the probability of heavy rains in Northern England/Southern Scotland like those of storm Desmond - a real-time event attribution revisited
Environmental Research Letters, 2018, 13, 2, 024006, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa9663.
Abstract (html)