UK Heatwave Far From Being Unprecedented

By Paul Homewood





Now that the heatwave has broken, how remarkable was it?

The Met Office have cobbled together some supposed record, as the Guardian reports, but they were originally expecting much hotter weather, with talk of 37C and even 38C days.

Their claim, in any event, is pretty meaningless, given the large number of recording sites nowadays. We also know how they cheat by ignoring a lot of inconvenient past data, on the basis that it has not been “digitalised”. It also involves comparing apples and oranges. We know the latest heatwave was concentrated on statistically the warmest part of the country – London and the south east.

Worse still, on three of the six days the hottest place was Heathrow!!

In fact the day before the Heathrow hit  36.4C, the Met Office twittered this:




So, in 1976 six days of over 35C occurred in the space of eight days, certainly as remarkable as last week. (The Met Office, of course, have not told us the temperatures on those two days in the middle.)

And out of the six days this month, only three made it over 35C, all of which were at Heathrow. Less remarkable surely than three days in a row in August 1990?

For the record, these were the top temperatures in the six days mentioned this month:

Aug Temp C
7 Heathrow 36.4
8 Frittenden 34.5
9 Herstmonceux 34.0
10 Heathrow 35.5
11 Heathrow 35.7
12 St James Park 34.6

As ever, the only proper way to compare different years is to use a consistent database of daily temperatures, the Central England Temperature series, which has the added advantage of being relatively unaffected by UHI.

When we look at CET for those six days, only two days were exceptionally hot, at over 30C. (Since 1878, 53 days have been 30C or over).

Aug CET Temp C
7 28.1
8 26.1
9 23.9
10 27.2
11 30.1
12 30.9

This is far from unprecedented. Similar periods with three days or more over 30C include:

31 Aug to 2 Sep 1903

28 to 30 July 1948

3 to 4, and 7 to 8 Aug 1975

28 to 29 June and 1 to 7 July 1976

31 July to 3 Aug 1995

Several other years have had two successive days over 30C, such as July 1923 and August 1975.

So this latest heatwave was in no way extraordinary. Nor was it exceptionally hot, as the hottest day of 30.9C , as there have been 23 hotter days on record.


No doubt attempts will be made to attribute this hot weather to climate change, but the evidence shows that we have experienced similar weather several times in the past.


August 17, 2020 at 08:27AM

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