Rovers are the raining champions

Gazette Series: FGR groundsman Stewart Ward showing the amount of rain which fell on The New Lawn playing surface in 2012 Buy this photo » FGR groundsman Stewart Ward showing the amount of rain which fell on The New Lawn playing surface in 2012

THE New Lawn lays claim to being the third highest ground in English football - and it is also one of the wettest - with 1716.9mm of water falling on the playing surface last year.

Only last week the Met Office reported that 2012 was the second wettest year on record in the United Kingdom (and the wettest for England) with an average of 1,330.7mm of rain falling last year, just 6.6mm short of the wettest UK year recorded in 2000 (1337.3mm).

Rainfall at The New Lawn over the last 12 months was 29% above the UK average and despite this only one game had to be rescheduled due to a waterlogged pitch.

In the 10 days leading up to the Kidderminster fixture on December 29, rain gauges at The New Lawn show the ground was inundated with 145mm or almost 6 inches of water.

Forest Green groundsman Stewart Ward said: “The amount of rain we received was massively unhelpful - almost six inches over that Christmas period. The ground is built on solid clay and even though we’ve got 200mm of soil on top, in those few areas where the soil is a bit shallower it would have just turned it into mud.”

Preliminary research from the Met Office also suggests we may have seen a change in the nature of the rain we get, with ‘extreme’ daily rainfall becoming more frequent.

An analysis of one in 100 day rainfall events since 1960 indicates these ‘extreme’ days of rainfall may have become more frequent over time.

Changes in sea surface temperatures due to natural cycles and reducing amounts of Arctic sea-ice could be influencing the increase in rainfall, but more research needs to be done before anyone can establish how big a role they play.

Increasing global temperatures may be another factor. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture and we have seen an increase of about 0.7 °C in global temperatures since pre-industrial times.

From basic physics, this would equate to about a 4% increase in moisture in the atmosphere which means there is a greater potential for heavy rain.

Professor Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, said: “The trend towards more extreme rainfall events is one we are seeing around the world.

“It’s essential we look at how this may impact our rainfall patterns going forward over the next decade and beyond, so we can advise on the frequency of extreme weather in the future and the potential for more surface and river flooding. “This will help inform decision-making about the need for future resilience both here in the UK and globally.”

If that rainfall had been the average throughout the year, The New Lawn would have received over 5000mm in 2012.

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