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A hot-air miscellany


SOME of the following comments and data have appeared on this site before, but I thought it could be useful to bring all the hot nonsense together.

Last year’s ‘record’ UK temperature of 40.3C was set at RAF Coningsby, which is a World Meteorological Organisation type 3 observing site, rated poor quality mostly because of the adjacent tarmac runways. Of the other four ‘records’, two are in London and two at airports.

According to the Met Office, June’s ‘record UK mean temperature’ was 15.8C, the highest since 1884. But we have temperature data for England (freely available from the Met Office) since 1659. The real record of 18.2C was set in 1846.

Last year’s ‘hottest-ever day’ in Scotland was July 18, when 35.1C was recorded at Floors Castle. This site has a walled garden, which is designed to keep the temperature up.

In England changing weather patterns are being blamed by at least one insurance company for an increase in household premiums. The BBC’s Chris Packham is saying that climate change has already had a radical impact on his garden. Warmer springs are causing bees to wake up earlier, we are told.

In England, according to the Met Office’s Central England Temperature Series, mean spring temperatures have hardly changed since 1988, and in fact have cooled slightly since 2008. Summers have warmed by 0.3C since 1989. Autumns have not changed much in the last 25 years, and the averages have been slightly cooler since 2006. Mean winter temperatures have altered little since 1990. There is no discernible effect on rainfall amounts over the last 200 years. All data from Met Office official sites again.

Are many more people dying from climate-change-induced hot weather in the UK and Europe? The Lancet has carried out an exhaustive study of this topic from 2000-2019 and has shown that there was ‘across the 854 urban areas in Europe . . . an annual excess of 203,620 deaths attributed to cold and 20,173 attributed to heat’.

There have been claims that Tuesday July 4 this year was ‘the hottest single day on earth in the history of human civilisation’. Or another more restrained version: ‘For the seven-day period ending Wednesday [5th], the daily average [world] temperature was .04C higher than any week in 44 years of record-keeping.’ The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change, allegedly the world’s leading climate scientists, say: ‘We’re likely living through the hottest period in the last 125,000 years.’

Those two decimal places should be a warning. Before 1880, says NASA, there just wasn’t enough data to make accurate calculations of world temperatures. There are so many unmonitored areas of the land and oceans that even today any claim to take the earth’s temperature is questionable. See Paul Homewood’s article  for more about these supposed ‘world temperatures’.

The figures come from ‘a numerical climate/weather modelling framework that ingests surface, radiosonde, and satellite observations to estimate the state of the atmosphere at hourly time resolution’.

Note that ‘estimate’, but there’s more. All this from the University of Maine. ‘The mean daily temperatures here are estimates calculated from the NCEP CFS/CFSR dataset, and any apparent record values should be considered in that context.’ Translation: NCEP: National Centre for Environmental Prediction; CFS: Central Forecast System; CFSR: CFS Reanalysis. Note ‘estimates’, ‘apparent’, ‘prediction’ and ‘forecast’. These are not real temperatures.

Too many people are desperately trying to move us into ‘catastrophe’ mode. Those same people do not seem to understand that we only know what our weather can do over the last 140-odd years. What were UK summers like around 150 BC? 4245 BC? How was it that the Domesday Book (1066) found 42 vineyards in England? Growing grapes in England was impossible then for hundreds of years until 1952.

Many of the temperature claims are complete nonsense, the remainder misleading. Every titbit of unusual weather is instantly pounced on by the media as evidence of global warming. The often-overzealous opinions of anyone calling themselves scientists about these non-events is swept round the world on every outlet, anxious to show their followers they are closely monitoring the approaching catastrophe.

Unfortunately every time it happens it adds to an increasing likelihood of support for more immediate and far more dangerous solutions: injecting sun-blocking aerosols high into the troposphere, for instance, which some scientists say will dim the sun and thereby save the earth. Geo-engineering, this approach is called.

Experiments carried out on our precious atmosphere could not be called off if they went wrong. The results could be far worse than anything we might suffer from natural changes in our climate.

The world’s daily weather has been monitored for only 143 of the 11,000 years since the last ice age, so it’s a fair bet that records will continue to be broken.

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Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams
Ivor Williams is a freelance writer and has been a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society since 1984.

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