Thames water flow at highest since 1883, as floods continue



Water flowing through the Thames in January exceeded 275 cubic metres per second – the highest figure since 1883. Scientists have said that parts of southern Britain are likely to experience their wettest winter since 1910.

Data from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) show that the water flow through the Thames has been extremely high and prolonged over the winter.

Scientists have registered more than 275 cubic metres per second for 52 days in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Prof Mike Acreman from the CEH said, “Not only has the river Thames been extremely high, it’s been extremely high for a long time, throughout January and now in February and the total volume of water coming down the Thames has been the highest since 1883.”

He also said that because of recent intense rainfall, which caused major disruption and flooding, the south was likely to experience a new record high and the wettest winter since record began.

“Our rainfall figures suggest it’s been the wettest winter since 1910, and here we have some data on river flow records, and many of these are very exceptional and many of these have exceeded the total in January over the whole period of record.”

Meanwhile, the journalist Martin Robbins pointed out on Twitter that the Thames barrier was four times in the 1980s, 35 times in the 1990s and more than 100 times since 2000 – according to Environment Agency figures. This winter alone has seen it used 27 times.

The Met Office recently said that the extreme rainfall was likely to be linked to climate change, although more research was needed to find further evidence. A similar claim was made by David Cameron. Some Tories, however, dismiss such a link. The energy secretary Ed Davey labelled this group as “ignorant” on Thursday.

Further reading:

Cameron links extreme weather to climate change as Met Office issues more flood warnings

UK weather will ‘change rapidly’ because of climate change, experts say

Met Office: evidence says ‘exceptional’ UK weather is linked to climate change

UK weather: wind and rain returns to Britain in ‘multi-pronged attack’

UK weather: Thames floodwater at record levels – with further rising expected


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