2012 the second wettest year

2012 was the second wettest year in the UK since records began in 1910, according to provisional statistics from the Met Office. It is just a few millimetres short of the record set in 2000.

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Pictures show critically high water level in Kent lake

The water level in Bewl Water near Lamberhurst in Kent is at 93% of its capacity following heavy rain over the festive period.

These photographs, taken roughly a year apart, show the same sign.

A sign next to Bewl Water near Lamberhurst in Kent pictured in December 2011 Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
The same sign pictured in January 2013 Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire


Friends of the Earth: Intense rainfall likely to become common

The head of policy at environmental group Friends of the Earth, Mike Childs, has said that experts expect to see extreme weather events such as intense rainfall become more common as a result of global warming:

So far, the world has warmed by an average 0.7°C above pre-industrial levels - if temperatures rise by the 4°C scientists widely predict then we can only begin to imagine the impacts on our lives and livelihoods.

But there is still time to tackle climate change. We must end our dependency on dirty fossil fuels and reap the benefits of energy efficiency and developing clean power from the wind, waves and sun.

– Mike Childs, friends of the earth

Levels of rainfall across the UK

This map shows levels of rainfall across the UK in 2012 in relation to the average in the 30 years up to 2010.

Everything above 100% (coloured pale to dark blue) is above the average and everything below that figure (coloured pale to dark brown) denotes less-than-average rainfall.

Map showing levels of rainfall across the UK in relation to the national average Credit: Met Office
Map showing levels of rainfall across the UK in relation to the national average Credit: Met Office

UK experiencing more 'extreme' rainfall

The Met Office has disclosed preliminary evidence suggesting the UK could be experiencing more intense downpours than in the past. Professor Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, said:

The trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we are seeing around the world, in countries such as India and China, and now potentially here in the UK.

Much more research is needed to understand more about the causes and potential implications.

It is essential we look at how this may impact our rainfall patterns going forward over the next decade and beyond, so we can advise on the frequency of extreme weather in the future and the potential for more surface and river flooding.

– Professor Julia Slingo, chief scientist, met office


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