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HomeClimate WatchThe climate scaremongers: Was it really an unprecedented heatwave?

The climate scaremongers: Was it really an unprecedented heatwave?


THERE has inevitably been a lot of idiotic over-the-top reporting about last week’s heatwave. The BBC and the MSM have been blaming it on climate change, with suitably scary colours to ram the message home:

Comparison of TV weather Maps from the BBC in summer 2012, left, and summer 2022 right. Source: BBC Courtesy of Climate Realism

But so far I have not seen an objective analysis.

So let’s start with a few simple facts:

1) It was extremely hot for a couple of days last week.

2) The heat was the result of an extremely unlikely set of meteorological conditions – a perfect storm, if you like. We know this because the Met Office told us so. On July 8, they announced the possibility of a heatwave a week later. The weather models produced a wide band of possibilities, most predicting similar temperatures to the weekend before, and some even forecasting no heatwave at all. At that stage a couple of models out of hundreds predicted 40C temperatures, which were described by the BBC as ‘a very tiny possibility’.

3) One day’s weather is not ‘climate’, no matter how much the Met Office likes to argue otherwise. Even if you accept that summer temperatures are a half degree on average higher than a few decades ago, this means only that we would have had temperatures of 39.5C instead of 40C.

But how exceptional were those temperatures?

Much has been made of the fact that this week’s temperatures beat the previous record by a long way, but exactly the same thing happened in August 1911:

The reading of 100F at Greenwich equates to 37.8C, a couple of degrees lower than this week in London. But that is not the whole story.

Temperatures in London and other cities and towns are nowadays significantly raised by the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). Some studies, for instance here and here, suggest the effect could be 5C to as much as 10C. Whilst UHI has a big effect at night, it is also substantial during sunny days. The map below from the Greater London Authority (GLA) indicates that much of inner London was 2C hotter during daytime than outlying parts during the summer of 2006:

Those outlying parts will still of course be somewhat affected by UHI, but even assuming that the UHI effect is only 2C, this immediately accounts for the difference between the temperatures measured in 1911 and this week.

The main factor causing UHI is concrete, along with anthropogenic sources such as cars and air conditioning. The GLA says: ‘London is experiencing hotter and drier summers that are further impacted by the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI).  The UHI can cause London to be up to 10degC warmer than neighbouring rural areas. This is a result of the sun’s rays being absorbed by hard surfaces rather than by vegetation such as trees, plants and grass. Radiation from our hard surfaces is released into the air as heat.’

The story does not end there. In 1911, the skies over London and indeed much of England were heavily polluted. Not for nothing was London called ‘The Smoke’. Scientists have long known that these aerosols block incoming solar radiation and temporarily cool the planet. It was this very factor that set off the global cooling scare in the 1970s.

recent study has found that global temperatures even now would be 0.5C to 1.1C higher if pollution were to suddenly disappear. This is a global average, so clearly the effect would be much greater over heavily industrialised areas.

Taken together, UHI and air pollution probably account for all and more of the difference between temperatures this week and 1911.

And whereas this year’s heatwave lasted just a few days, in 1911 the hot weather began in June, when temperatures reached 88F, and continued into July, with several days in the 90s and 97F recorded at Epsom. The long hot summer lasted well into September, when Greenwich hit an unheard of temperature for the month of 94F.

It was not only England. More than 40,000 died of the heat that summer in France, according to Le Parisien, while thousands more succumbed in New England.

Nowadays we are told to panic over a couple of days of hot weather!

Was it hotter in 1976?

MANY people who lived through it will say that the heatwave in 1976 was much more extreme and intense than last week’s. Naturally this did not go down well with the BBC, who immediately responded with a ‘Reality Check’, called ‘UK heatwave: How do temperatures compare with 1976?’.

The article stated: ‘People on social media have been comparing the high temperatures in much of the UK with the heatwave of 1976, suggesting that the severity of the current hot weather is being exaggerated. So, what does the evidence show? The peak that year was 35.9C. That has been beaten by the current temperatures, with 40.3C recorded so far.

‘The UK has been slowly getting warmer since the 19th century, and this has sped up. In the past three decades the country has become 0.9C warmer on average, according to the UK State of the Climate report in 2020. Nine out of ten of the hottest days ever recorded in the UK have been since 1990, according to the Met Office. 1976 ranks 13th in the list of the hottest UK days on record.

‘Suggestions that there is nothing unusual about this heatwave appear to have found a willing audience among climate change sceptics.Hundreds of people have shared their experiences of the 1976 heatwave on social media, with some making the misleading suggestion that the current heatwave is “no different”. Others have accused the Met Office and the media of spreading “alarmism” and “hysteria”. Some have suggested people need to “toughen up”, describing those complaining about the heat as “snowflakes”.’

There is only one misleading comparison, and that is this BBC piece. To make it worse, it is presented as a ‘Reality Check’, rather than just an opinion.

The whole point about the comparison with 1976 is that this heatwave lasted only two days, whereas the 1976 heatwave lasted for weeks, albeit that it did not peak at such a high temperature. Most people would agree that 1976 was a much more intense event because of that.

However to the climate extremists at the BBC, it is heresy to claim that weather was worse in the past! Consequently they do not address this issue at all, and merely concentrate on one day of heat. They dismiss anybody who disagrees as ignorant ‘deniers’.

Given that the BBC are afraid to tell its readers the truth, here it is. You can make your own minds up as to which summer was most extreme. Below are the daily maximum temperatures for the Central England Temperature series, from June 1 to July 21. For this period, the average temperatures were 23.9C in 1976 and 21.6C this year:

This year there have been only two days above 30C, compared with eight in 1976. Moreover these eight occurred between 28 June and 7 July, a span of ten days when the temperature did not dip below 29.7C. The summer of 1976 remains by a long way the hottest on record in the UK, despite the BBC’s attempts to downgrade it.

Finally let’s debunk once again the lie about heatwave deaths, included in the Reality Check, which says: ‘But even in the 1976 heatwave – which saw lower temperatures – excess deaths in parts of the country were up 30 per cent. Last week, the UK Health Security Agency issued its highest level four heat alert, warning illness and death could occur among the fit and healthy.’

During the last hot summer we had, in 2018, there were fewer deaths in summer than any other season. That summer also recorded the second lowest percentage of annual deaths in the decade.

It is cold that kills, not heat.

The BBC have shown their contempt for ordinary people who dare to question the climate dogma. Anybody who disagrees must be re-educated!

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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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