A wander around post-flood Salford

Two days after the Boxing Day floods, I decided to take a quick look at the aftermath along a short stretch of the Irwell.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

I started out in Peel Park, which is now Peel Pond.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

The geese were enjoying the children’s play ground.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

You’ve got to wonder what the flood has done to the asking price of these new builds.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

Debris caught in the railings gives an indication of how high the water got.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

An even bigger piece of debris still hooked onto the bridge.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

Gunky silt coats the road where the water topped the bank.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

Positive thoughts. Though this was on a building a way uphill from where the river had overflowed.

Salford after the Boxing Day floods

RIP The Mark Addy? It’s hard to see from this angle, but the silt/sand was piled up quite deep.

Water level at points along the Irwell were reported as the highest since monitoring began in the 1930s. I’d like to know if this December has been a record breaker for rainfall, or if some other factors contributed to the floods. There are still a few more months of winter to go, as well, so we might be seeing more flood damage yet.

The Texas Floods Are So Big They Ended the State’s Drought

“Rain just doesn’t fall in a civilized fashion in Texas,” says Ronald Kaiser, a water expert at Texas A&M.

The extremes of Texas’ water problems could be a model for growing areas of the world as climate change gets worse. Extreme dry spells followed by devastating floods- which nonetheless top up the water supply.

One question, and I’m sure it’s a dumb one, but I’ll pose it anyway. If they’ve been pumping water out of the aquifers for years, surely they have the beginnings of an infrastructure to pump it back in when there’s an excess above ground. It wouldn’t be any good flood control, but it might help clear the standing water afterwards, as well as topping up the stores.

Source: The Texas Floods Are So Big They Ended the State’s Drought | WIRED

Arctic ice may be putting US in a long, deep freeze – Ars Technica

Yes, Lord Lawson, this weather probably is the result of climate change. Do shut up.

The US is freezing.The UK is flooding. Alaska and Scandinavia are unusually warm. And, most remarkably, all of that has been going on for roughly the entire winter. It’s not just unusual weather; it’s consistently unusual.

A few years back, researchers suggested that strange weather in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere might be a consequence of changes taking place in the Arctic. Now, with a few years of additional data, some researchers are arguing that we have detected clear signs that Arctic warming is driving our weird weather.

Santa’s revenge: Arctic ice may be putting US in a long, deep freeze | Ars Technica.

John Redwood is a troll

He may look more like a house elf, but John Redwood MP is that far too common online animal- a troll. In particular, he’s a climate change denying troll. Fantasising about what he was going to say whilst debating the floods with George Monbiot, he trotted out enough tired old lies that anyone playing climate change denier bingo would have shouted “House!” before they were even half way through. From “It’s cold in winter!” to “But weather forecasters get tomorrow’s forecasts wrong sometimes!”, they’re all there. The post is like a retirement home for debunked talking points.

Not only is Redwood wrong about climate change, he’s tilting at the wrong windmill. Asked about the direct causes of this year’s floods, George Monbiot is more likely to repeat his strongly argued, coherent and intelligent attack on the failings of the Common Agriculture Policy and subsidy-seeking farmers from last month.

The question is, does John Redwood really believe in his rambling collection of outdated arguments, or is he so cynically arrogant that he thinks the electorate is too stupid to see through them? He’s a politician, so I suspect it’s the latter.

Dredging would not have stopped massive UK floods – environment – 10 February 2014 – New Scientist

Much of southern England is underwater thanks to a record-breaking deluge that has fallen over two months. More than 5000 homes have flooded in the Thames valley and Somerset. Many of the people affected complain that rivers should have been dredged to allow the water to escape faster. But hydrologists say dredging alone would have made little difference. The only way is to manage entire catchment areas, or in the case of Somerset, perhaps build an artificial lagoon.

via Dredging would not have stopped massive UK floods – environment – 10 February 2014 – New Scientist.

Canoeing through Egham

During the few unhappy months- over a decade ago- that I spent working in Surrey, I lived in Egham. It was a nice enough little town and served as a good starting point for a few interesting bike rides, so it’s sad to hear that so much of it is under water. The video clip below is from Channel 4, and may turn up in a news report later. The sound is very poor, but you get the gist of what’s happening.

Jet skiing on the High Street

During the recent floods “youths” decided to take to their local streets on jet skis. Which sounds cool to me, though, as usual, some morons had to get violent when asked to stop.

Also, spot the hypocrisy of the Daily Mail website. Having taken the high moral ground about how terrible this behaviour is and suggesting it shouldn’t be uploaded to YouTube, they embedded the video below in the report.

Hard Rain

Greenhouse gasses are causing shifts in rainfall patterns, leading to summers like this one (so far the wettest since records began). Just to make things more complicated, this heavier precipitation is going to alternate with hot summers like last year, but in entirely unpredictable ways.

Aside from focussing on the root cause of all of this I think it’s time to do some better planning around water use. Perhaps every new build should have mandatory rainwater storage for grey use (toilets etc.) All of those tanks would provide a buffer during heavy rain fall that would lessen run off and thus flooding and save water in dry spells. Whilst we’re about it, how about fines for the fools who concrete over their gardens and/or rewards for anyone who rips the paving up and plants a lawn.

Neither of these measures woudl stop flooding, particularly with water volume such as that seen in the last week, but they could soak up overflow in lesser events, and cut the burden on reservoirs.

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