Met Office: Evidence 'suggests climate change link to storms'
Climate change is likely to be a factor in the extreme weather that has hit much of the UK in recent months, the Met Office's chief scientist has said. Dame Julia Slingo said the variable UK climate meant there was "no definitive answer" to what caused the storms. "But all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change."
"There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events."
More than 130 severe flood warnings - indicating a threat to life - have been issued since December. In contrast, there were only nine in the whole of 2012.
More than 5,000 properties have been flooded over this period, although the Environment Agency says investment in flood defences over the past decade has protected a further 1.3 million properties.
Speaking ahead of the launch of a Met Office report - produced by the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology - into recent climatic events, Dame Julia said the UK had seen the "most exceptional period of rainfall in 248 years".
Unsettled weather at this time of year was not unexpected - but the prolonged spell of rain, as well as the intensity and height of coastal waves, was "very unusual".
"We have records going back to 1766 and we have nothing like this," she said. "We have seen some exceptional weather. We can't say it is unprecedented but it is exceptional."