Supercomputer predicts 34 pct chance of record rainfall hitting parts of Britain in future

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-25 01:58:22|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, July 24 (Xinhua) -- New innovative research by Britain's Meteorological Office found Monday there was a one-in-three chance of a new monthly rainfall record in at least one region of England and Wales every winter in the future.

A new supercomputer has been used by the Met Office to simulate thousands of possible winters for future weather forecasting.

Heavy rainfall has caused widespread flooding in parts of Britain during the past few years, with a succession of storms leading to record rainfall and flooding in many regions including the southeast in 2014, followed a year later by Storm Desmond in northwest England.

"A novel research method was needed to quantify the risk of extreme rainfall within the current climate," said the Met.

Professor Adam Scaife, who is leading the research at the Met Office, said the supercomputer was used to simulate thousands of possible winters, some of them much more extreme than they'd yet witnessed.

"This gave many more extreme events than have happened in the real world, helping us work out how severe things could get," he said.

Scaife said analysing simulated events showed there was a 7 percent risk of record monthly rainfall in southeast England in any given winter. When other regions of England and Wales were also considered, this increased to a 34 percent chance.

Vikki Thompson, lead author of the report, said "Our computer simulations provided 100 times more data than is available from observed records. Our analysis showed that these events could happen at any time and it's likely we will see record monthly rainfall in one of our UK regions in the next few years."

The method was used as part of a recent British Government National Flood Review when the Met Office was asked to estimate the potential likelihood and severity of record-breaking rainfall in the UK for the next 10 years.

"This new use for Met Office computer simulations could also be applied to assess other risks such as heatwaves, droughts, and cold spells and could help policy makers, contingency planners and insurers plan for future events," said a spokesman at the Met Office.