I cannot really add much more than my recent comments on the Cumbria floods of early December, denying a role for AGW really isn't sound as I explain in that post. However it is an issue worthy of some comment.
On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day), a frontal system lined up crossing the UK leading to a very heavy rain all day long, and during the preceding night. As I was with family for Christmas I wasn't set up to collect images, but the main player in the rainfall was a plume of warm air from the coast of North Africa driving up to the UK and meeting a cold front.
As a result we have seen what in some towns looks to be record flooding. The Government are jumping on the phrase 'unprecedented' flooding probably for political reasons (attacks of not doing enough).
Map of flood warnings in the North of the UK (BBC).
Emergency Services and Army rescue some of those affected. (PA/John Giles)
So that's an outline of the situation, happening just three weeks after the previous record rainfall and ensuing flooding event in Cumbria.
Last night on Sky News's newspaper review had Robert Fox, Defence Correspondent for the Evening Standard and another commentator. Robert Fox said words to the effect that; 'The game is over for the climate change deniers'. Certainly that position is becoming less popular in the UK, however there remains a fashionable stance of climate change denial, whose adherents seem to think it makes them look clever. Despite that issue, the ongoing nature of anthropogenic global warming makes the sidelining of climate change denial an inevitability. Most people are more impressed by personal experience than by any amount of hard data, and as we enter the age of consequences there will be more and more personal experience for more people.
This December, weather related disasters in recent years (locally and globally - Global Weirding), and the upward shift in UK rainfall, has also given me cause to reflect on the 2 degC global warming limit as being 'safe'. This year will end at well under 1 degC, despite being virtually certain to be substantially above the previous record warmest year of 2014. It will take another decade to regularly hit 1 degC.
2 degrees C global warming is not safe for all, it is a level of warming that gives an 'acceptable' level of casualties, but how are we to judge what is acceptable? And in making that judgement what moral debt to we owe to the 'casualties'?