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Monday, July 15, 2024
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HomeClimate WatchThe climate scaremongers: How the Met Office fiddles the temperature figures

The climate scaremongers: How the Met Office fiddles the temperature figures

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THE Met Office’s claim a few weeks ago that the UK had just had its hottest May on record was met with widespread derision at the time, and continues to be.

Despite the fact that most people had shivered through much of the month, and even had to turn the heating back on, the establishment media obediently tried to persuade us that we really must trust the Met Office rather than the evidence of our own eyes.

We were assured that it really had been the hottest May when averaged over the country as a whole, because apparently it was warmer than normal in the Scottish Highlands, where hardly anybody lives! This excuse was quickly shown to be nonsense when it emerged that the Met Office figures claimed it had been by far the hottest in England as well.

While the public at large suspected they were being gaslit, it was encouraging to see the upstart media, such as Talk TV, rubbishing the claims as well; Mike Graham, Julia Hartley-Brewer and Kevin O’Sullivan, for instance, all made it clear they thought such claims were an insult to our intelligence.

As I have commented before, how can we be sure that we are comparing like with like when the Met Office calculates how much national temperatures have changed over the last 50 or 100 years?

We know, of course, that many weather stations which were on the outskirts of cities years ago have since been swallowed up by urbanisation. City centre sites have been increasingly affected by the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect over the years, thanks to more transport, roads, homes and infrastructure. UHI artificially raises temperatures, something the Met Office does not take into account when they make their ‘hottest on record’ claims.

Another factor to consider is that till around the 1970s most homes had coal fires. Industry and power stations also used plenty of coal. As a result our towns and cities lived under a veil of smoke which had the effect of depressing temperatures. A Met Office study in 2006 actually stated that most of the warming since the 1970s was probably due to cleaner air. (This study has since been removed from their website – a copy can still be found here).

And as we already know, much of the Met Office’s weather station network is so poorly sited that temperatures can be inflated by as much as five degrees C. Poor siting can involve being too close to artificial heat sources such as buildings and roads, or hedges and walls which create suntraps.

All told, nearly eight out of ten stations are so poorly sited that they could be overstating underlying temperatures by at least 2C, and as much as 5C. Only stations classed as 1 and 2 on a five-point scale should be used for climatological purposes, but the data from these is being swamped by the junk sites which comprise the vast majority.

Is this just an academic problem, one which does not actually have any real significance in practice?

No.

Just to take one example, the Met Office publishes a daily list of the hottest places, both nationally and by region. That day in July 2022 when temperatures topped 40C at Heathrow and three other junk sites? Rothamsted, a pristine, rural Class 1 station in Hertfordshire, located in the middle of the heat plume, peaked at 38.5C.

These examples show just how badly sited many stations are:

Aberdeen Dyce Airport is Class 4 – not only is the weather station within meters of a road, car park and terminal, it is also close to the runway where jet aircraft turn. When the site opened in 1959, Dyce was little more than a field. Poor siting probably adds two degrees to the real underlying temperature there.

Aberdeen Dyce

Chertsey in Surrey is one of the regular high temperature sites. It also happens to be in the middle of a field of solar panels, which get extremely hot in summer. They were only installed in 2021, and have undoubtedly led to an increase in average temperatures since.

Chertsey

Chertsey is not the only station affected by solar panels. The ex-RAF airfield at Leconfield near Hull is also close to a solar farm, again opened in 2021.

The weather station in Hull is located at an Animal Education Centre. It is Class 5 and also appears regularly on the highest temperature list. The thermometer screen is just a few feet away from a large hedge, which acts as a suntrap. It is also close to a car park and animal cages filled with straw. A high quality weather station run privately at the nearby University of Hull consistently records temperatures two degrees lower.

Hull East Park

It is emerging that many of these Class 4 and 5 sites have only been opened in recent years. It is almost as if the Met Office are trying to find sites that will record higher temperatures, so that their national averages are nudged up!

In short, Met Office attempts to compare today’s temperatures with the past are unscientific and misleading. They reckon that temperatures have risen by about a degree in the last hundred years or so. It is likely that most of this is the result of a combination of UHI and poorly sited stations.

The whole of their temperature station network should be dropped, and replaced by a small number of pristine, well maintained rural sites.

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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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