Few in the UK will forget the devastating floods of the summer of 2007. Rivers around the country burst their banks causing flooding on a seemingly unprecedented scale. Global warming was immediately blamed.
But now, it seems, it was nothing of the sort. The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have advised such an event could well occur every 100 to 200 years. It does not seem to be part of any trend associated with climate change.
Well, that may be their opinion, but don’t for a moment think it is science.
There simply is not the data to make such a statement. The best science can offer is a probability either way. Judgments like this are opinion alone.
The main question to ask in such issues is this: what exactly will changing climate mean in terms of global warming? And the obvious answer is, take the worse weather we know we have experienced, and increase the probability and frequency of it happening again.
Hence, the ‘trends’ the above opinion is based on are not cast in stone.
Just because they may have applied to the past, there is no way of knowing if the trend is changing for the future.
Therefore, the only conclusion we can draw concerning global warming is it is not proved to be occurring, but it is probably high enough a probability to make sure we do something about it in case it is.
© Anthony North, March 2008
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