Whatever Happened To Our Heatwaves?
By Paul Homewood
The UK government continues to warn us that we can expect hotter summers and more intense heatwaves. In their Climate Change Risk Assessment, issued earlier this year, DEFRA forecast :-
- By 2080, average summer temperatures would have increased by between 1C and 8C.
- Heatwaves would become more severe due to a changing climate.
- By 2050, premature deaths due to hotter weather would increase by between 580 and 5900 pa. (Interestingly, they acknowledge that night time temperatures during the 2003 heatwave in London were 9C higher than the surrounding countryside.)
Met Office data shows that summer mean daily maximum temperatures have barely increased in the last 80 years, and the trend has been downhill since the warm summer of 2006. Even that year was not as hot as 1976 and 1995.
The last six summers have averaged 18.3C, well below the 1981-2010 average of 18.6C. Talking of UHI though, it is worth noting that minimum trends have shown a larger increase in recent decades.
But are the average numbers disguising an increase in extreme hot weather events?
Sheffield is a pretty representative part of the UK, lying in a fairly central position. (It’s also where I live!)
Daily temperature data from the Met Office for the town shows no upward trend, either in the number of days over 30C, or in the temperatures for such days.
The record temperature of 34.3C was set in 1990, and 1995 set the record for most days with six. The consecutive summers of 1975 and 1976 probably still stand out as the longest and hottest summers of all, with 1976 topping the averages with 23.1C. And there have been no days over 30C at all since 2006.
So once again we see that the modelling and the forecasts bear no resemblance to what’s actually been happening.
DEFRA warn us in this report that premature deaths due to hot weather will increase by between 580 and 5900 pa. They also inform us on the same page that, under their projections, premature deaths due to cold weather will decline by between 3900 and 24000 pa.
Apparently this is a bad thing.