England has a reputation for being a damp country, but these last few months have been especially trying for people in the UK. January was England’s wettest winter month in almost 250 years. Approximately 146 mm of rain fell in January, a new record, according to the Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford. Much of Southern England and Wales was deluged as well, and there was major flooding as a result.
The question everyone is asking, of course, is whether this is a chance occurrence or related to climate change. It’s not as easy to answer as one might think. While it’s true that warmer air can hold more water, and thus make a rainfall more intense, as I noted, wet weather and flooding have always been a feature of weather in that part of the world. So the question should really be: has the risk of more extreme wet weather increased?
To get those answers, ClimatePrediction.net wants to run the numbers on two very big groups of simulations. One will look at the conditions from the winter we just experienced, and another will be looking at what it might have been like if we hadn’t been emitting greenhouse gasses all this time.
You can help with this project, and the good news is that you don’t have to grab a stack of paper and pencils and work out the math yourself. Simply download a bit of software called BOINC from this link, install and launch it, and select ClimatePrediction.Net as your project. Then create an account by following the prompts from BOINC. The results will be posted here, and if you want to know more about how to interpret what you see on that page, check out the expected results explanation.