There is a one in three chance of at least one region in the UK setting a new monthly rainfall record between October and March every year, according to Met Office research using its new super computer.
The likelihood of these relatively rare extreme weather events was calculated using a a new research method to take into account what the Met Office calls a “new” climate.
The UK’s official weather service has said it could use these computer simulations to assess the risk of heatwaves, droughts, and cold spells and could help policy makers, contingency planners, and insurers plan for future events.
Severe flooding has hit the UK over the past few years.
In December 2015, Storm Desmond damaged around 5,200 homes, while thousands of others lost power. Many schools were forced to close and rail services were disrupted.
Through the winter of 2013/2014, at least 12 major storms hit regions across the country.
Professor Adam Scaife, who conducts research on climate variability for the Met Office said in a statement:
The new Met Office supercomputer was used to simulate thousands of possible winters, some of them much more extreme than we’ve yet witnessed. This gave many more extreme events than have happened in the real world, helping us work out how severe things could get.
There is a seven percent risk of record monthly rainfall in south east England in any given winter, the research found. When other regions of England and Wales are also considered the likelihood increases to 34 percent.
Vikki Thompson, lead author of the report, said in a statement:
Our computer simulations provided one hundred 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