Comparing The Heatwaves of 1990 and 2019

By Paul Homewood

 

 image

 

As we know, Britain recorded its hottest day on record in Cambridge last month. But does this mean that it was the hottest day for the country as a whole?

I now have the data from the Met Office, which proves that it was not as simple as that.

The BBC gave a clue as to what was happening, with the hottest of the weather over eastern and central areas of England:

UK temperatures heatmap

 

I asked the Met Office for a list of temperatures for that day, along with the record, for a range of stations giving a representative sample of the whole country.

Bold items are where new records were set last month:

As we can see, these new records were clustered in that area on the BBC map, which tends to be the warmest part of the country anyway.

If you’ll excuse my attempts at graphic design (!), I have tried to circle this area below:

image

If we go back to the chart, the records set in 1990 were:

Ross-on-Wye

Shawbury

Newton Rigg

Leuchars

Chivenor

Camborne

Hurn

Pershore

These are mainly on the western half of the country, although Leuchars is in Fife, eastern Scotland, and Hurn in Dorset. In other words, quite a wide expanse of Britain.

The Met Office record temperatures by district back this up:

 

image

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-climate-extremes

Whereas 2019 only features for England E & NE and East Anglia (Cambridge is effectively on the border of the two anyway), 1990 appears under England NW, Wales N, Midlands, England SW and Wales S.

It is therefore arguable that August 1990 was every bit as extreme as last month’s heatwave. Naturally the temperatures recorded in 1990 were not as high as that in Cambridge. But the latter is in one of the warmest regions, where you would expect temperatures to be higher than, say, Wales.

But in relative terms, the 2nd and 3rd of August 1990 was every bit as exceptional as 25th July 2019.

Station Maximum Temperature (deg C) 25/07/2019 Highest Temperature at Station
Oxford 36.5 36.5 deg C on 25th July 2019
Kew Gardens 37.9 38.1 deg C on 10th August 2003
Sutton Bonington 36.0 36.0 deg C on 25th July 2019
Ross on Wye 32.4 35.0 deg C on 19th July 2006 & 3rd August 1990
Shawbury 31.2 34.9 deg C on 3rd August 1990
Sheffield 35.6 35.6 deg C on 25th July 2019
Bradford 33.9 33.9 deg C on 25th July 2019
Durham 32.9 32.9 deg c on 25th July 2019
Newton Rigg 30.1 31.1 deg C on 2nd August 1990
Eskdalemuir 29.8 29.9 deg C on 28th June 2018
Leuchars 21.7 30.8 deg C on 2nd August 1990
Braemar No 2 26.7 30.0 deg C on 28th June 2018
Chivenor 29.3 34.3 deg C on 3rd August 1990
Camborne 22.5 29.4 deg C on 3rd August 1990
Hurn 29.7 34.1 deg C on 4th August 1990
Valley 25.6 33.6 deg C on 19th July 2006
Aberporth 27.0 32.7 deg C on 19th July 2006
Pershore 34.2 34.9 deg C on 3rd August 1990
Rothamsted 36.6 36.6 deg C on 25th July 2019
Stonyhurst 32.0 32.6 deg C on 1st July 2015

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August 19, 2019 at 12:27PM

One Comment on “Comparing The Heatwaves of 1990 and 2019

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