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Our ten warmest years – the truth behind the BBC bombast


THE BBC joyfully reported on Wednesday that ‘The top ten warmest years on record in the UK have all occurred since 2002, a new analysis from the Met Office says.

Complete with gratuitous image of sunbathers and reference to Cambridge’s record temperature, Matt McGrath went on:

‘Its State of the UK Climate report shows that 2014 remains the warmest year in a temperature sequence now dating back to 1884.

Despite last summer’s blistering heat, 2018 only places as the seventh warmest year on record – as the statistic is based on temperatures all year round.

When it comes to the coldest years, the most recent in the top 10 was in 1963.

The patterns of warm and cold years in Britain are a clear signal of climate change, say scientists.

It comes after the Met Office confirmed this week that the UK’s hottest temperature ever – 38.7C (101.7F) – was recorded on Thursday in Cambridge.

The Met Office scientist who compiled the new analysis says that the clustering of all the warmest years in the first two decades of the 21st century is what would be expected in a changing climate.

‘It’s certainly what we’d expect to see. Our climate in the UK has warmed at a very similar amount to the global temperature rise, so just under 1C for the UK,’ said Dr Mark McCarthy.

‘Under that warming climate, we would expect that the hot extremes would tend to cluster in more recent times and the colder extremes are further back in time.’

When it comes to rain, six of the ten wettest years in the UK have occurred since 1998.

Over the last decade, our hot and cold seasons have been getting wetter than the long-term average with the summers seeing 13 per cent more rain while the winters going up by 12 per cent.

‘It is also interesting that a high number of the wettest years in the UK occurred recently, showing that climate change starts to show up even in highly variable aspects of weather such as rainfall,’ said Prof Gabi Hegerl from the University of Edinburgh, who wasn’t involved with the study.

‘Climate change already matters to the UK and makes a difference.’

I’m not quite sure why this is news to the BBC, because I reported it all back in January!

And I correctly predicted that the Met Office would make a big thing about the ‘ten warmest years, blah blah.’

For some reason, the Met Office and BBC are extremely reluctant simply to publish the graphs, and let the public make their minds up. If they were to do so, people would realise that the UK stopped warming up a decade or more ago:


Dr Mark McCarthy claims that this is consistent with climate change, and BBC Science Editor David Shukman is in no doubt:

But it simply is not true. Climate change theory implies that the climate is continuing to get warmer. Instead, what we see is a step change mainly in the 1990s, and a flat trend since.

Understandably, neither the Met Office nor the BBC want to admit this. Indeed the evidence from last year adds further weight to that flat trend. It was the 7th hottest since 2003, a period of 16 years, so slightly below the median.

Put simply, the UK temperature record offers no evidence that temperatures will significantly rise in years to come.

The claims about rainfall are also grossly misleading. In reality, the extra rainfall mentioned is confined to Scotland, but in the rest of the UK there is little evidence of any significant trends.

While a wetter climate in Scotland may be due to climate change, it is dishonest of Professor Hegerl to pretend that this is affecting the UK as a whole:


But worse still, the Met Office have the much longer England & Wales Precipitation Series, dating back to 1766, which shows a completely different picture.

We can see from this that the climate is no wetter than some other earlier periods. Notably, the 1870s were the wettest decade overall:

I am, by the way, amused at their claim that wetter summers are the result of climate change. For years, the Met Office have been claiming that global warming would make our summers drier.

Perhaps somebody should tell the Environment Agency, who only a few weeks ago were warning of water shortages!

h/t Robin Guenier/Philip Bratby

This article was first published on Not A Lot of People Know That on July 31, 2019, and is republished by kind permission.

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Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood is a former accountant who blogs about climate change at Not a Lot of People Know That

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