The Wave of Heatwave Deaths that Wasn’t

The best kind of predictions of climate doom sit in a sweet spot, happening soon enough to stimulate fear but not soon enough to be quickly shown to be yet another crock of ****.

The median time horizon for predictions of an ice-free Arctic is 16 years. This seems to be about right. Who remembers stuff that someone bleated about in 2006? [Well, “Arctic Death Spiral Update” does, but that’s not the point. Nobody important is going around jabbing their finger at these disappointed Nostradamuses and telling them, “Sling yer hook! You’re fired!” Hell, even making up data or faking “smoking gun” memorandums doesn’t get you put on the naughty step for twelve minutes these days.]

The median time between prediction and “apocalypse” was said to be 20 years by Rode and Fischbeck [See here for Tony’s appraisal of same; my lengthy comment is close to the bottom].

However, I digress, because this particular presentiment of doom had a time window, not of 16 or 20 years, but 4 days. Prof Sir Admiral King, once the government’s Chief Scientist and now the commander of a flotilla of plastic battleships that he sends on daring missions up and down his bathtub, made a bold prediction about the number of deaths that would be caused by the then-imminent heatwave. It was on the 16th of July, the Saturday, when he told LBC that “up to” 10,000 deaths were to be anticipated on the following Monday and the Tuesday [inclusive? Unclear]:

Sir David continued: “You mention figures of thousands of deaths. I’m afraid the excess deaths on Monday and Tuesday have got to be anticipated at least in that sort of range… a few thousand up to 10,000.”


Well, it was a bold prediction indeed to make on the 16th that thousands would die on the 18th -19th, but Prof Sir Admiral King knew what he was talking about. He was proven right, and the ONS duly reported that 8,700 excess deaths occurred on both the two very hot days.

What’s that? They didn’t report a large excess of deaths? I think you’ll find you’re barking up the wrong tree, Mr. Denier. I have the data right here somewhere, and if you simply casually glance at the weekly mortality figures for the year 2022, the heatwave week sticks out like the Matterhorn.

Weekly registered deaths, England and Wales: ONS

Whaddaya mean, which week was it? Oh. Hang on a mo, let me just work it out. Yeh. It was the week ending 22nd July, so it was week number 29.

[Multiple caveats: the large majority of deaths are registered within a week of occurring, and almost all (barring those requiring inquests) within two weeks. Some weeks are lower than the seasonal trend: these may relate to bank holiday weeks where not as much gets done as normal. The drop in the average death rate at Chrimbo is not a miracle: deaths then are pushed forwards, particularly into week 53 [not shown here]. I did not use the 5-year average including 2020 or 2021 for obvious reasons, and the population will have grown in the interim.]

Weekly registered deaths, England and Wales, difference from 2015-19 mean

In fact, there has been an excess of deaths every week since the beginning of May, with the exception of week 22, which included an extra bank holiday and an extended weekend. And while there is potentially a further elevation in death rates in weeks 29-30, representing heat wave casualties, they certainly don’t number close to 10,000. The highest excess is week 19, where almost 2500 excess deaths were recorded. That was more than the same week in the (2nd) pandemic year of 2021 and only about 600 less than the (1st) pandemic year of 2020.

The question remains: what is causing the excess deaths in England and Wales this year? There is a suggestion that the responsibility lies with lockdown, and the prolonged suspension of NHS services. I don’t know. Perhaps Prof Sir Admiral King has the answer.


Paul Homewood also covered Prof Sir Admiral King’s true prediction. King was about the doomiest about the heatwave that I could find. Most media were cagey in putting actual numbers on things. The Guardian said “Thousands may die,” but it didn’t say how many thousands.

See here for some more of Prof Sir Admiral King’s balderdash as transcribed by me at the time.

Featured image

A shack near Frinton-on-Sea. [Actually a hide, but it had been vandalised.]

via Climate Scepticism

September 23, 2022 at 10:58AM

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