Skip to content

Science Or Propaganda?

October 15, 2012

By Paul Homewood


Annual Mean CET


The UK Met Office display the above graph prominently on their website. It is the temperature plot, based on the long running CET (Central England Temperature series).

The message is clear. Temperatures suddenly started climbing rapidly around 1980, a classic hockey stick.

If you look closely, you will notice that the graph begins just before 1780. Yet the CET series actually began in 1659, so why did not the Met show the full graph?


I have used exactly the same data, which is available on the Met Office website here, to produce the graph below for the full period.




I have used the same temperature scale , with a six degree range. Even with this scale, there is very little sign of any hockey stick. Certainly there was a bunch of warm years around the turn of the century, but they were only slightly warmer than earlier periods, notably the 1730’s. And in recent years there has been a decline in temperature, which the running five year averages illustrate on the graph below. Indeed the average temperature over the last five years is no higher than several years during the 1730’s.




By the way, so far this year, the CET anomaly is running at 0.28, which would give an annual temperature of 9.76C. This would certainly not be unusually high by 20thC standards, and would bring the five year average down another notch. (You may just be able to make out the green line at the end of the Met graph, which represents this year).

Which brings us back to the question I posed at the start. Why did the Met not show the graph in full?

It seems to me that to produce a partial graph, which begins at an abnormally cold period, can only have been done in order to mislead.

They have already been accused this week of “misleading the public”, following their release, with no publicity, of data showing that there has been no global warming for 15 years.

It seems the Met are making a habit of such behaviour. As publically funded scientists, surely they have a duty to provide the public with the full, unadulterated facts, and not a highly distorted version that happens to support their agenda?

  1. Sparks permalink
    October 15, 2012 7:08 pm

    In the Chart 1653-2011, Why does the winter of 1740 show up as being very low but the winter of 1962/3 which was the coldest since 1740 looks relatively warm, here’s a typical description of it.

    The winter of 1962/3 was the coldest winter since 1740.

    “There was snow cover across lowland Britain from December 26th 1962 to March 4th 1963 – a total of 67 consecutive days, and overall 1963 was the coldest year of the century. For the first time ever there were two consecutive months when the average CET (Central England Temperature) stayed below zero, in fact the winter CET was an incredible –0.3C.

    January 1963 was the coldest month of the century. The sea froze – at Eastbourne it was reported that it was frozen to an extent of one hundred feet offshore for a length of two miles. Lakes, rivers, and even waterfalls froze and harbours on the south and east coasts of England were iced-up, with many craft stuck fast. Huge blocks of ice formed on beaches where waves broke and the spray froze. Coastal marine life suffered severely. There was a snowdrift on Dartmoor recording a depth of 25 feet on January 21st and for the first time since the snowy winter of 1947 there was pack ice in the large estuaries of the Solent, Mersey, Thames and Humber. “

    • October 15, 2012 8:19 pm

      Remember these are annual temperatures The annual figure for 1963 was 8.5C, about 1.0C down on the 1961-90 Av.

      It seems that the rest of the year was warm enough to bring the annual figure back up to more normal levels, or at least warmer than some years in the 19thC.

      • Sparks permalink
        October 15, 2012 8:34 pm

        Thanks Paul, that makes sense. I had to ask even if it sounds a bit silly!

  2. October 15, 2012 8:44 pm

    3 out of 4 seasons have a negative trend for the last 15 years (as of June’s data)

    And the JJA trend is .009C / decade.

    I should update those …

  3. grumpydenier permalink
    October 15, 2012 10:05 pm

    There was an interesting post on Judith Curry’s blog about this release and an earlier one. Sometimes one has to wade through all the slagging off of other commenters’ points of view to get some really interesting info.

    Comment –

    Linked article –

    I would appreciate your analysis before I add this to my mental armoury (mental as in sub-concious, that is lol).

    • October 15, 2012 10:25 pm

      Even allowing for Louise Grey’s spin, the original announcement was thick with propaganda.

      E.g. Peter Stott – “the new series is yet another piece of evidence that the world is warming”.

      “The scientific evidence is really strong that we are warming,” he said.

      Nick Stokes is talking nonsense if he thinks the interest was really in “buckets”!

      To be fair to the Met though, the HADCRUT figures are updated monthly in any case, so there is no big deal about this latest release.

    • October 16, 2012 6:01 am

      HADCRUT4 has a negative trend from 11 years ago.

  4. TinyCO2 permalink
    October 15, 2012 10:13 pm

    There is an explanation on their site about how unreliable the readings were at the beginning of the records. Something about the thermometers being in buildings. However, this could mean that it was even colder than the records indicate. The decision not to use the early records isn’t that new as this paper if from 1992, before climate hysteria really took off. Reading this paper makes you realise how random the entire early temperature measurement data set is.

    Click to access Parker_etalIJOC1992_dailyCET.pdf

    On a different note, I was just using the graph to plot ‘reality’ against a BBC 2006 modelling experiment.

    The UK results are good for a laugh.

    • October 15, 2012 10:29 pm

      Talking of the Beeb, apparently Horizon is showing a programme about “Global Weirding” next week.

  5. October 15, 2012 10:29 pm

    Very interesting. I note on the Hadley Centre website (where I went to to download the temperature data) the following statement: “Since 1974 the data have been adjusted to allow for urban warming.” Can we find out what the “unadjusted” data was?

  6. October 16, 2012 8:28 am


    I responded with a question to one of your comments on the WUWT thread about the Met office.. I repeat it below as I see one of your commenters has made the same point;

    —– —–

    As you know the Met office tend to like using the Parker CET 1772 data rather the Manley 1659 CET data. I show Manleys data in the same style as Hadley 1772 in my article;(first graph)

    There is little difference between 1730 and today

    Later on in the article I show my own CET reconstruction of CET to 1538 based on observational records, (many from the Met office library.

    I wonder if you have an opinion as to whether the small UHI adjustment of 0.2C used by the Met office (and quoted in the article) really represents the reality of heat island modern Britain?”

    —— —— ——— END——

    This appears a suitable place to expand on that comment so I have reproduced the relevant portion of my article;

    ——- ———-

    “The monthly series, which begins in 1659, is the longest available instrumental record of temperature in the world. Manley (1953,1974) compiled most of the monthly series, covering 1659 to 1973. This data was updated to 1991 by Parker et al (1992), when they calculated the daily series. Both series are now kept up to date by the Climate Data Monitoring section of the Hadley Centre, Met Office. Since 1974 the data have been adjusted to allow for urban warming.”

    The geographic triangular area described is a heavily populated area of the country. In a private email to the author the Met office described the amount of UHI as follows;

    “The urbanisation corrections to the CET series have been applied since 1974. Initially they were just 0.1 degree C, in certain months, then gradually for more months of the year; from about 1995 onwards some of the corrections increased to 0.2 deg C, and by about 2002 all the corrections were 0.2 deg C.

    The above applies to Mean CET. The urban heat island effect is much more noticeable for minimum temperatures than for maximum, so for the Minimum CET series the corrections are double those for Mean Temperature, whereas for Maximum Temperature it was deemed in fact that no correction was required.”


    So, that was the reply to me directly from the Met office. I live close by and often call in to use their archives and library. At night I have observed (via the cars thermometer) a difference of three degrees C between the area outside the Met office and surrounding countryside. I increasingly believe that UHI is understated in many temperature records including CET which after all is taken in an industrialised area of an industrialised country. Has anyone here got any views on what the Met office should be including for uhi in CET?


    • October 16, 2012 10:17 am

      We need to remember that it is not absolute UHI that we should look at, but the change in UHI over a period of time. It is probably reasonable to assume 0.2C as the change in UHI over the last 50-100 yrs. (I did an exercise based on Eskdalemuir, which is a rural site, and came to the same conclusion.)

      However it seems improbable that the change in UHI is so small over say 200-300 years.

  7. Evan Highlander permalink
    October 16, 2012 8:45 am

    Averages of averages springs to mind – speed reading this blog briefly – wot we wer tot @ Uni – Statistiks – ONE JUST DOES NOT DO THAT – so how can one ” Average” an annula temperature that makes sense ?
    In Farming in the 70’s at least, we used T-Sums – accumulated days when temps exceeded 5C to calculate when to sow Crops or apply fertiliser.. calculated from a certain date in the year – would have to go back to MAFF / ADAS / F.Weekly records for that Info

  8. Paul Matthews permalink
    October 16, 2012 8:46 am

    The original CET paper by Manley in 1974 says that there were problems before about 1760 when some records came from well-ventilated north-facing unheated rooms, and that there’s a gap in some of the data from 1707-1722. But then at the end of the paper he says that there is a ‘comfortable accord’ with other European data back to about 1700.

  9. October 16, 2012 9:02 am

    Central England has lots of good company at the boring charts of the day party, namely most of out classically old cities also go back a lot further than, say NASA plots on their GISS web site which cuts old data off before 1880:

  10. October 16, 2012 12:18 pm


    The other problem we have -and CET is no exception-is that stations rarely stay in the same location. When they move they record a different microclimate. Adjustmemts for those are somewhat subjective.

  11. October 17, 2012 1:12 am

    What were they measuring temperatures in prior to 1724 and the ‘Proposal’ of the Fahrenheit scale ?? And bearing in mind that standards were not considered reliable enough to ensure uniform figures before 1910, how can these records be anything other than ‘Entertaining’ as they pertain to the numbers before the turn of the 20th century ?


  1. Eye on Britain (2)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: