Skip to content

Booker & The Hottest Day

July 4, 2015

By Paul Homewood




Booker picks up on the “Hottest July” claims.




All of the claims about record temperatures revolve around one temperature reading at Heathrow Airport. (I am not aware of any other stations which have beaten the previous record at Wisley in 2006, nor have the Met Office mentioned any).

For those who have not read them already, this is my sequence of posts as the story developed:


Read more…

Do Automatic Temperature Sensors Overstate Warming?

July 4, 2015

By Paul Homewood




AC Osborn reminds of this earlier post from Pierre Gosselin, over at No Tricks Zone.

Pierre’s post picks up on concerns that the automatic sensor system which we have nowadays could be picking up short term spikes, which the old mercury thermometers would not have had time to react to. This sort of bias would be particularly significant at airports, where such spikes could be large.

This is highly relevant to the recent debate over Heathrow. 


Reposted from No Tricks Zone:


Not only has siting of weather stations near urban heat sources have been a real issue for weather measurement stations worldwide, but so maybe has the recently implemented automatic electronic weather measurement instrumentation.

Reports are appearing that the new automatic system may be producing exaggerated temperature readings. For example this may be the case in Germany: read here and here.

Now we find another example, this one coming from the Alice Springs, Australia station.

According to the Australian ABC news site, the new electronic thermometer measured a scorching 46°C (an all time high) last Tuesday. However an adjacent mercury thermometer showed only 41.5°C, i.e. a huge 4.5°C less! It turns out that the 46°C reading was a “spike” that lasted only a minute before disappearing.

As a consequence, the ABC writes, the “Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has withdrawn its advice Alice Springs recorded its hottest day on Tuesday, blaming a faulty thermometer for an incorrect temperature reading.”

The old record of 45.2°C was set 55 years ago, in 1960. The ABC quotes climatologist Joel Lisonbee:

It looks like we had an instrument fault with our automatic weather station at the Alice Springs Airport. […] We have some mercury and glass thermometers that did not show that spike to 46C. […]

They showed the maximum temperature yesterday to be only 41.5C.”

According to the ABC, the station is located right next to a “scorching” airport tarmac. So how could the new automatic thermometer produce such a faulty reading?

It seems that these new automatic systems are highly sensitive. As reported here at NTZ, one German weather instrumentation expert conducted an 8.5 year side-by-side comparison test of the new automatic electronic temperature measurement system and the former mercury glass thermometer. That test showed that the new automatic thermometers produced a mean temperature for the period that was a whopping 0.9°C warmer than the mercury thermometer. That result could possibly in part explain why Germany’s annual mean temperature jumped by a similar amount from 1985 to 2000, i.e. the period that Germany transitioned over to automatic measurement.

The Alice Springs inflated reading is an indication that the new measurement system indeed may be overstating temperature readings all over the world, thus adding uncertainties on top of those created by the urban heat island effect.

With the Alice Springs Station, the error was caught and the “record high” was withdrawn. Yet the question remains if this is the case all over the world. How many recent records are in fact not records at all, but rather are merely faulty readings produced from instrumentation and siting issues?

Met Office & “Record Breaking Weather”

July 4, 2015

By Paul Homewood




The Met Office have finally got round to issuing some sort of report on Wednesday’s hot spell, though it actually says very little:


As forecast as early as last Thursday, the UK saw a period of record breaking hot weather yesterday (1 July 2015).

The warmest July day since records began and the hottest day since 2003, was recorded at Heathrow, when the temperature reached 36.7 °C at 3.13pm. The previous highest July temperature was 36.5 °C on 19 July 2006 in Wisley, Surrey.


It goes on to report something about thunderstorms, but fails to present any sort of map to show how widespread and intense the heat actually was. 

So desperate are they to convey the “record breaking” theme, that they give a list of nine stations which have set all-time records.


  County Previous max and date 1.7.2015 Max Years of data
Stonyhurst Lancashire 31.5 °C on 29/6/1976 32.6 °C 74
Gringley-on-the-Hill Nottinghamshire 31.1 °C on 17/7/2006 32.1 °C 15
Loftus Cleveland 28.4 °C on 2/8/1999 and 6/8/2003 29.2 °C 15
Ryhill West Yorkshire 31 °C on 9/8/2003 31.7 °C 20
Blencathra Cumbria 28.2 °C on 21/8/1995 28.7 °C 18
Pateley Bridge North Yorkshire 28.8 °C on 18/7/2013 29.2 °C 10
Shap Cumbria 28.4 °C on 18/7/2006 28.8 °C 17
Bainbridge North Yorkshire 30.5 °C on 9/8/2003 30.7 °C 23
Wittering Cambridgeshire 35.2 °C on 3/8/1999 35.3 °C 52


Pathetically, they include seven stations which don’t even go back as far as 1990, when so many records were set across the UK, and are consequently utterly worthless.

The two stations that do go back that far, Stonyhurst and Wittering, pose more questions than they answer:


Read more…

Women’s Lib For Lizards!

July 3, 2015

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Joe Public  





News from the University of Looby Lou! 


New effects of global warming on, well, everything, are still being discovered all the time. A recent study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature reveals a new way that lizards might be affected by the higher temperatures (on average) that our planet has been doing through. The researchers studied a population of Bearded Dragon lizards in Australia, an animal who’s sex is usually determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and found that the heat was actually making eggs with male chromosomes turn out female after a climate sex-change, so to speak.

This actually is the "first report of reptile sex reversal in the wild", and shows that other lizards could also be affected.


That probably explains why all of the bearded ladies up here in Yorkshire are men!

“Record” Heathrow Temperature Not Supported By Nearby Locations

July 3, 2015

By Paul Homewood  



Met Office Weather Station at Heathrow


According to the Met Office, a record temperature of 36.7C (98.1F) was set at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday.

As I mentioned at the time, this seemed strange because their hourly record showed Heathrow only reaching 35.9C at 15.00, before falling to 34.3C an hour later.




So what do surrounding sites show? The Met Office are pathetically useless at providing any station data other then monthly totals, and these only at a handful of sites. (Contrast this to the data that is easily available on line from the US and Australia – anyone with a suspicious mind would suspect they were trying to stop people analysing data).

However, John Hultquist points me to a site which holds all sorts of weather data, run by the Gladstone family.


For a start, there is apparently another temperature sensor at Heathrow, a bit closer to the runway (marked EGLL – the Met Office one is 03772, as confirmed by their coordinates).


Read more…

China Windpower Capacity To Remain Tiny

July 3, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




From PEI:


China’s installed wind capacity will treble from 115.6 GW this year to an estimated 347.2 GW by 2025, according to a new report.

However the study stresses that global windpower growth will begin to level off by 2015, with annual installations peaking at 56.8 GW in 2022.

The report from research GlobalData staes that China’s “windpower landscape in 2025 will be dominated by onshore capacity, which will account for 334.7 GW, representing just over 96 per cent of all installations, with offshore wind accounting for a mere 12.4 GW of installed capacity”

Sounds impressive doesn’t it, but as usual the devil is in the detail.


The latest available stats from China are for 2012, showing electricity generation as :


  Capacity GW Generation TWh %
Nuclear 13 93 14
Fossil Fuel 819 3675 77
Hydro 249 854 18
Solar 7 6 0
Wind 61 96 2
Bio 8 44 1
Total 1174 4768,&syid=2007&eyid=2012&unit=BKWH


The extra wind capacity due to be added by 2025 would add in the region of 450 TWh, nominally raising wind generation from 2% to 11%.

However, China’s demand for electricity is also forecast to skyrocket, as their economy continues to grow. The EIA, for instance, are expecting it to nearly double in the next ten years.

This would effectively mean that wind power is only likely to be contributing about 5% to the grid, much of this in rural areas that have little access to power now.


Whatever else happens, don’t rely on wind power to drastically reduce emissions in China.

1911 And All That

July 2, 2015
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood 


According to the Met Office’s summary of the heatwave in August 1990: 


A maximum of 37.1 °C was measured at Cheltenham on the 3rd, beating the record of 36.7 °C set at Raunds (Northamptonshire), Epsom (Surrey) and Canterbury (Kent) on 9 August 1911.


However, when we check back to the original monthly weather report from the Met Office for August 1911, we not only find confirmation of these three readings, but also two that were actually higher, at Isleworth and Greenwich.




There may be good reasons why these temperatures were subsequently deemed doubtful, although if any record was a reliable one you would have thought it would be at the Royal Observatory!

Nevertheless, both the Greenwich and Isleworth temperatures of 37.8 and 37.2C respectively would have exceeded the 37.1C at Cheltenham, which was the all-time record until beaten by Faversham in 2003. And both would have been much higher than the temperature of 36.7C set yesterday at Heathrow, that has made so many headlines.


Note as well the comment that hundreds of records of 90F [32.2C] and upwards had been recorded, something which a large part of the country failed to achieve yesterday.


Of course as we know, temperature readings are much more reliable at a a major international airport than a purpose built observatory set amongst extensive parkland!




Royal Observatory, Greenwich


Royal Observatory, Greenwich in 1902


Heathrow Airport

EDF & UK In Liability Talks

July 2, 2015

By Paul Homewood 





The ongoing farce over plans for Hinkley Point’s new nuclear reactor has taken another twist, with the news that the UK Govt and EDF are in discussions to decide who will foot the bill if the Austrian challenge is successful.

From PEI:

Read more…

Hydro Projects Damage Biodiversity

July 2, 2015

By Paul Homewood 


Widely hailed as "green" sources of renewable energy, hydroelectric dams have been built worldwide at an unprecedented scale. But University of East Anglia research reveals that these major infrastructure projects are far from environmentally friendly. A PLOS ONE study reveals the drastic effects of the major Amazonian Balbina Dam on tropical rainforest biodiversity. It reveals a loss of mammals, birds and tortoises from the vast majority of islands formed by the creation of the Balbina Lake


Don’t you just love all of that environmentally friendly, renewable energy!


We all know that some hydro projects use up valuable farm land and displace thousands of people. But, according to a new study, they are not actually much good for the environment either.


A study published today in PLOS ONE reveals the drastic effects of the major Amazonian Balbina Dam on tropical rainforest biodiversity.

The research reveals a loss of mammals, birds and tortoises from the vast majority of islands formed by the creation of the vast Balbina Lake, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric reservoirs.

Lead author Dr Maíra Benchimol, a former PhD student at UEA and now at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Bahia, Brazil, said: "Hydroelectric dams have been thought to be an environmentally friendly source of renewable power — and in recent years they have been built to supply the burgeoning energy demands of emergent tropical countries.

"Previous studies have shown that large dams result in severe losses in fishery revenues, increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and socioeconomic costs to local communities. Our research adds evidence that forest biodiversity also pays a heavy price when large dams are built.

Read more…

UK Heatwave Update

July 2, 2015

By Paul Homewood




I’m still waiting for anything concrete from the Met Office, but we can take a provisional look at just how hot it really was yesterday.

As we know, claims of the hottest July day are based on a single reading from Heathrow Airport, which hardly inspires much confidence. But even if true, so what?

The Heathrow temperature of 36.7C is actually well below the all time record of 38.5C at Faversham in 2003, which happened to occur on 10th August that year. The month of July, on average, tends to be slightly hotter than August, so there is no reason why July heatwaves should not be just as hot.

Much more significantly though is the comparison with August 1990, when a similar set of weather conditions brought a slew of record temperatures across most of the UK, nearly all of which still stand. The highest temperature recorded then was 37.1C at Cheltenham. (Interestingly, this broke the previous UK record of 36.7C set at three locations in Northamptonshire, Surrey and Kent as long ago as 1911!)

The 1990 heatwave was a short lived affair, just as the current one looks to be, and arose from a very similar set of weather conditions, which brought up the “Spanish Plume”.



Read more…