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All hail the downward trend in hail storms

18 May 2022 | Science Notes

The quick summary, for those of you who know how all these stories go, is that journalists and politicians keep saying climate change is making the weather worse. But when researchers dig up long term data, it always seem to show the opposite, in this case records in the UK and Wales that show hailstorms have gone down both in number and in severity since the early 1800s. So when you hear claims that the weather is getting worse, whether the data are gathered into 50 year averages (red line), 35 year averages (blue line) or 30-year averages (green line), these data say hail no.

The real decline is probably even more dramatic because, the author of this article notes, many hailstorms were probably missed in the early part of the record because population was lower and weather monitoring was less systematic. Another interesting finding going back considerably further is that the maximum hailstone size has declined. On this point the author was able to find records stretching back to around AD1500.

Seems when it comes to ice crashing down from the sky onto your crops, your livestock and your head, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.

As to the question of why hailstorms are declining in number and severity, the author dug into the records and could not find any connection with temperature. But (tin foil hats at the ready please) based on some other research he suggested that aircraft contrails may play a role in suppressing them. It’s just a conjecture. But whatever the cause, the data show that this aspect of extreme weather is not getting worse from climate change. Kind of like all the others.

One comment on “All hail the downward trend in hail storms”

  1. Steepest decline from 1895 to 1920. Obviously an effect of all the jumbo jets flying around back then

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