Why did it rain so much in July: A wet look at climate change

Here we go again, another wet July in Ireland. I remarked on a wet July in 2009 when I wrote A Wet Look At Climate Change (AWLACC) and then again in an update during 2012. Readers of AWLACC will know of my “water butt” saga and the serious miscalculation that had water overflowing all over the place! So after attempts at attaching overflows and running hose pipe to take away excess water, this year we upscaled.

Directly onto a downpipe we’ve installed a 1300 litre tank. That’s 1.3 metric tonnes of water capacity! This replaces a 110 litre butt overflowing into a 210 litre one. No problem now with overflowing we thought, it will take ages to fill this beauty.

The water tank

tonneIt just so happened that the tank was set up at the beginning of a weekend that turned quite wet. “Great”, we said, this will test the guttering joints for leaks and give us some garden water for the rest of the summer and autumn. Not wanting to following in my own erroneous previous footsteps, I did the calculation this time and it’ll take at least 80mm of rain to fill the tank. Chances are that with some rain and drawing off water for our plants, we should not expect to fill this tank until winter. Leaving things to chance is never a great idea…….

To save the suspense; Sat- 6mm, Sun- 4mm, not so bad; Mon- 23mm! Tue- 19mm! Wed- 3mm. All adds up to 55mm and new tank is over half full already. Then no rain for 3 days followed by 4, 5, 4, and 3mm, “Tanky” is ¾ full.

Hang on a minute I thought, we’ve been here before. Going back over my own rainfall records I plotted July for the past 5 years. My chart shows very similar heavy rainfall for 2009 and 2012 and going on the first weeks of July, 2015 will be much the same.

Sunny on St Swithin’s Day

We’re into the 3rd week now and the only day, ironically, that has been dry and sunny was St Swithin’s Day. Ironically? Because unlike the folklore around the burial of the Saxon bishop, we are not going to have fine weather for the next 40 days and just one day later we are back to heavy rain. Writing this blog at 3pm on the 16th and we’ve had 13mm so far today. Still raining heavily and I’m NOT going out to see if Tanky’s full!

A thought process that I tried to convey in AWLACC is that whatever the cause for global warming, it has consequences. Massive quantities of water being held in the atmosphere due to higher temperatures and moving around the globe.  Dumped as heavy rain or persistent lighter rain, keeps the air saturated with moisture, and at this time of year with summer temperatures, micro-organisms thrive (Chapter 8 AWLACC). I took this picture of a courgette plant this morning just before the heavy rain started.

 

White powder on your plants?

pflanzeThe white powdery appearance on the leaf that it is dying is mildew fungus. Just as happened in July 2009 and July 2012, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Met Eireann issues a Blight warning (Chapter 9 AWLACC).

To finish on a more positive note;  it’s incredible the amount of water that can be simply collected from rainfall. Just think of the amount of water that could be saved if everybody with a garden installed a water butt.

Welcome to my world of moisture!