Tag Archives: England

UK summer flash floods to become more frequent, study shows

Met Office and Newcastle University study is first to draw direct link between climate change and rise in summer downpours.

Flood damage in Boscastle, Cornwall, in 2004.Flood damage in Boscastle, Cornwall, in 2004. Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

Flash flooding in summer is likely to become much more frequent across the UK as a result of climate change, with potentially devastating results in vulnerable areas, according to new research.

The study, published in the peer-review journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to draw a direct link between climate change and an increase in summer downpours.

The research, a result of a collaboration between the Met Office and Newcastle University, used climate change computer models and standard weather prediction models of the type used for short-term weather forecasts. It found that summers would be drier overall, but punctuated by more extreme downpours.

These can have a much worse effect than the steady rainfall typical of winter, because the dry land is less capable of absorbing water, and when too much falls in a short period it runs off, causing flash floods of the type that struck Boscastle in 2004, one of the worst examples of sudden localised flooding in recent years.

Whether any given area is subject to flash flooding will depend heavily on its topography, such as the proximity of uplands and rivers, but vulnerable areas are likely to experience far more incidents than they did in the past.

It is not possible to say exactly how many more floods are likely, but the researchers said instances of particularly heavy summer rainfall – defined as more than 28mm in an hour – would be about five times more probable.

Elizabeth Kendon of the Met Office, the lead author of the study, said that the research was groundbreaking in using a high-resolution weather forecasting model to translate the likely effects of climate change into a detailed prediction of future UK summer weather.

“Until now, we haven’t been able to do it in this way,” she said. “This should help people to understand what is likely to happen in the summer in future. It’s very important that we’ve detected this signal for heavier downpours in the UK. It’s now for policymakers to decide what to do about it.”

Some of the worst results could still be a few decades away, but the effects are already being felt and are likely to grow more severe, according to the models. But Kendon said more accurate predictions would depend on more scientific research being undertaken.

Summer rainfall is different to that typical of winter, when long-lasting steady bouts of heavy rain are common. These can cause their own flooding problems, as seen early this year when heavy rain caused widespread devastation in the UK with thousands of people forced to flee their homes.

Climate models suggest heavier winter rainfall for the UK. Summer downpours, such as those seen in 2012 when heavy rainfall followed a long period of drought, with disastrous results, are harder to predict but can take a greater toll as they are more sudden, and crops are ruined and tourism disrupted.

Kendon said: “It’s the hourly rainfall rates that you look at in summer.” The rain tends to fall in shorter but more intense bursts, caused by convective storms, but this has been difficult for climate models to simulate, because they lack the ability to home in on such brief events. It took the Met Office supercomputer, one of the most powerful in the world, nine months to run the necessary simulations.

The Guardian

Editors Note: This will either push insurance premiums through the roof or else make it impossible to get any kind of insurance cover for your property.

Heathrow board member says locals enjoy ‘excessive freedom’ over noise

Akbar al-Baker of Qatar Holdings, with 20% stake in Heathrow, advocates 24-hour operation and says residents would adapt.

Heathrow board member says locals enjoy 'excessive freedom' over noiseHeathrow moved quickly to distance itself from Baker’s comments, saying it took the concerns of local communities very seriously. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

A Heathrow board member has said the airport should be open 24 hours a day, and that local residents under the flightpath would soon get used to the noise.

Akbar al-Baker, representing Qatar Holdings, which owns a 20% stake in the airport, said locals enjoyed excessive freedom and made too much fuss.

Speaking to journalists from the Times and the Telegraph in Doha, Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, said: “If you live under the flightpath of an airport, I assure you, over a period of time you will not even hear the aircraft passing over your house.

“The thing that is impeding Europe’s growth is that airports are locked up from 11 o’clock at night to 5.30 in the morning, which is a very, very critical time for east-west transfer. People [in Qatar] are not making as much fuss about noise as they are in Europe.”

He said that objections to noise, which affects more people around Heathrow than anywhere else in Europe, should be overridden. “I know people require freedom, but I think this is too excessive. Sometimes the national interest must be considered.”  Continue reading

Brighton: Mini Heatwave is on the way

Brighton: Mini Heatwave is on the way

THE weather this weekend is set to be the best so far this year and hotter than parts of Spain, Italy and Greece.

As temperatures on Saturday are expected to soar to 24 degrees, they could top Ibiza, where 21 degrees is predicted, or Rhodes in Greece where the barometer might not rise above 22 degrees. Naples, Italy, is set for temperatures of only 19 degrees.

A spokesman for The Met Office said: “We are looking to see some of the warmest weather this year at the weekend, with temperatures in parts of Sussex hitting 24 degrees.

“Brighton is likely to fall a bit shy of that. But we are looking at something in the low 20s.”

Business owners have predicted the heat wave will bring sun-seekers flocking to the city.

David Sewell, owner of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe and chairman of the North Laine Trading Association, said: “Good weather is everything for an open air business like the cafe and we are very much looking forward to this weekend.

“When the Met start making this kind of forecast, people from London, Croydon and Crawley make plans to come down to the coast rather than leave it to decide on the day.

“That’s when the town gets packed and Brighton really buzzes.”  Continue reading

England: Is shaming bad cycling on film a good idea?

This week another video showing rogue road behaviour from a cyclist’s helmet cam went viral.

Bad Cycling Practices

Recording cyclists jumping red lights and cycling on the pavement won’t help cycling’s PR problem

But unlike most of its predecessors, doesn’t show a cyclist being cut up or doored or getting physical or verbal abuse from a car driver. Instead it shows bad bike-riding in York, from jumping red lights to going the wrong way down a one-way street to riding on the pavement.

There’s also a woman talking on her phone while riding slowly down a towpath, which doesn’t look remotely dangerous, and a man taking his coat off while riding along with slapstick consequences. More on him later.

What was the bike filmer’s motivation? He posted it anonymously so it can’t have been for the fame. Was he thinking of web revenue? Maybe, though the lingering camera gaze on the offenders, plus the fact you can hear him admonishing them at times, suggests it was more of a moral crusade. Which is fine. I get irritated with bad cycling too as it gives the rest of us a bad name.  Continue reading

England: Milly Dowler killer awarded payout after Wakefield Prison assault

The serial killer who murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler has been awarded a £4,500 payout after being assaulted in Wakefield Prison.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it is “hugely disappointed” by the judge’s decision.

Milly DowlerMilly Dowler

Levi Bellfield was attacked by a fellow prisoner with a makeshift weapon in 2009 before he went on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Milly.

He is believed to have suffered minor injuries but launched legal action claiming that prison staff should have protected him, the Daily Mirror reported.

Lawyers on behalf of the MoJ fought against his case for three years but they were forced to admit full liability at Durham County Court on Wednesday, the newspaper added.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We are hugely disappointed that Levi Bellfield was awarded £4,500 by a judge following an assault by a prisoner in 2009 at HMP Wakefield.”

Serial Killer: Levi BellfieldSerial Killer: Levi Bellfield

Labour MP Ian Austin, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the Daily Mirror : “This is a complete and utter disgrace. Every right-thinking person will agree this is distasteful and wrong.”

Former nightclub bouncer Bellfield is serving a double whole-life term having been convicted of the murder of Walton-on-Thames schoolgirl Milly while already serving a whole-life term for the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Milly was snatched from the street on her way home in March 2002.

SourceITV News.

Editors Note: This is a disgrace, it makes me sick, prisoners in this country are treated better than the elderly. Maybe next time a fellow prisoner has a go they do a more thorough job and finish the bastard.