Milli Vanilli "Blame it on the Rain" Meteorology Awards - 2015 Nominees

climate change canada


Milli Vanilli had a hit song "Blame it on the Rain" in 1989 - it was number one for 2 weeks on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 ! And why not?  It had :

1) Phat beat with that Roland TR-808 groove in the back of the mix with tasty cowbell tinkles - who doesn't need more cowbell from an iconic analog beat box?

2) Catchy lyrics per this excerpt:

Gotta blame it on something
Gotta blame it on something
Blame it on the rain (rain)
Blame it on the stars (stars)
Whatever you do don't put the blame on you
Blame it on the rain yeah yeah

3) High production promotion with a couple of 'singers' delivering it all.

As we all know now, the 'singers' we all saw weren't singing at all, but just lip syncing to recorded tracks telling us to "Blame it on the Rain" because we gotta blame it on something.


In honour of Milli Vanilli, CityFloodMap.Com now announces the Milli Vanilli Meteorology Award nominees - those who, with little substance "Blame it on the Rain" when it comes to weather science, extreme value statistics, flood risk assessment, and flood damage reduction policy.  TR-808 drum roll please ...... and the 2015 nominees are:

#1 (Acting) Environment Commissioner of Ontario
Connecting The Dots on Climate Data in Ontario, Toronto, January 8, 2015, The Environmental  Commissioner's Eco Climate Data Roundtable for saying :

"But now “1-in-100 year” storms, which are often the threshold for resilient design, are happening more frequently than in the past." (per summary brochure)

See full details:

Why this is a worthy nominee:

Coles Notes: Environment Canada states there has been no significant change in rainfall over decades. Also old systems built pre-1980's to 1-in-5 year storm level of service will continue to flood as they always have - rain is not more frequent as the data clearly shows.  Runoff has increased though in our cities and watersheds.  And flow conveyance systems are more constrained resulting in more frequent back-ups and damage.


#2 (Acting) Environment Commissioner of Ontario
Feeling the Heat: 2015 Annual Greenhouse Gas Progress Report, July 7, 2015 for saying:

"The report notes that extreme weather associated with climate change has already damaged the province’s infrastructure; for example, intense storms and flash floods in recent years have caused costly damage to provincial roadways and commuter rail lines. And future projections for the province point to an even more unpredictable and unstable climate."  (per release document)

See full details:

Coles Notes:  This GO Train rail line area has always flooded, with records going back to the "Great Flood" on September 13, 1878. But the watershed hydrology has changed and there is more runoff than during the 1981 flood inquiry that noted during the March 21, 1980 flood "Part of the CNR track flooded to the north and east of a point south of Bloor Street."  During the April 14, 1980 flood, after a 5-6 hour period of rain, CNR tracks at the Bloor Street ramp were flooded.  The inquiry report indicates that train operation has halted, or trains were detoured during floods, including December 25, 1979, January 11, 1980, March 21, 1980, April 14, 1980, February 11, 1981 and May 11, 1981. Lack of recent Keating Channel dredging may reduce flow capacity of the river system, aggravating flood risks. SO DREDGE THE CHANNEL! IT'S LIKE A METAMUCIL FLUSH FOR FLOOD PREVENTION!

WAKE UP! The May 29, 2013 flood was worse - higher recorded water level at Todmorden gauge, higher flow rate than July 8, 2013 - but luckily missed trains due to the schedule.


#3 Insurance Bureau of Canada
Municipal Risk Assessment Tool & Telling the Weather Story for saying:

"Extreme weather events that used to happen every 40 years now occur every 6 years. IBC is piloting ground-breaking technology – a tool known as MRAT – to help communities reduce flooding caused by sewer backups....How Does MRAT Fight Urban Flooding? Canada’s weather is changing and it’s hurting communities...." (per IBC website)

See full details:
(well you can't because MRAT has some proprietary information, but you can read about the source of the statement in IBC's Telling the Weather Story in our link below)

Why this is a worthy nominee:

Coles Notes: IBC`s report misreports a theoretical normal bell curve shift for temperature changes as actual Environment Canada weather data and then misreports weather to mean extreme rainfall.

Honourable mentions include those who have repeated the IBC statement that storms that used to occur every 40 years occur every 6 years now, including:

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Craig Alexander - TD Economics
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The Tree - Content for Energy and Climate Communicators
Columbia Institute Centre for Civic Governance
Civic Action
Calgary Sun
Aviva Canada


Gotta Blame Flooding on Something? And not the rain?  Here you go:

Our letter to the Minister of the Environment of Ontario has some ideas:

Our research into overland flood risk factors is has some ideas as well:

Overall, instead of blaming it on the rain, look to runoff / hydrology changes in our watersheds and urban catchments, and at flow / hydraulics in drainage infrastructure, including the neglected overland flow system.  See the post below on Rain-Runoff-Flow-Flood.


Extreme rainfall trends in Canada (Environment Canada Engineering Climate Datasets):
Static Maps:
Interactive Map:
Table Summaries:
Chart and Table:
Long-term Station Table:
Environment Canada Denies Changes:
Contradicting Insurance Industry Claims:


It is noted that the ECO in the 2014 report Looking for Leadership, The Costs of Climate Inaction has repeated the "Weather Story" statement saying:

"For example, the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that extreme storms of a magnitude expected to happen every 40 years are now predicted to occur every six years."