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Climate Change Soon Could Kill Thousands In UK, Says Report

December 9, 2012

By Paul Homewood




So claimed the Guardian back in 2008.

Climate change could lead to a heatwave in the south-east of England killing 3,000 people within the next decade, a Department of Health report said today.

It put the chances of a heatwave of that severity happening by 2017 at 25%.

Without preventative action, the report said that a nine-day heatwave, with temperatures averaging at least 27 degrees over 24 hours, would cause 3,000 immediate deaths, with another 3,350 people dying from heat-related conditions during the summer.

Professor Robert Maynard, chairman of the expert panel that wrote the report, said: "Climate change is likely to be one of the major challenges that humanity faces this century. It is important that we assess the possible health impact and take any actions that could minimise the consequences."

Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency, which published the report jointly with the Department of Health, said: "Climate change is perhaps the most significant environmental problem which mankind will face in the coming century. “ (Yes, I think they might have been copying each others notes!).



Two years earlier, David (snow is a thing of the past) Viner made similar comments to the Guardian

Heatwaves and other extreme weather conditions are likely to become a regular occurrence in Britain, a climate expert said today.

The heatwave gripping the country, which is due to reach its peak today with temperatures of 36C, is "indicative of climate change", according to David Viner, from the University of East Anglia’s climatic research unit.

Dr Viner warned there would be more extreme weather to come that could pose a significant risk to human health.


[Incidentally, Viner also stated “Britain could experience more dramatic and unpredictable weather in the future, including tornados. We saw a tornado in Birmingham last year and I think generally we are likely to see an increase in localised, unforecastable and unpredictable weather."

He obviously was not aware that tornadoes are a common occurrence in the UK. Research even suggests there may even be more here than in the US, on a per area basis!

Statements such as this simply show how shoddy so much of Viner’s work had become.]


But back to heatwaves! Are they becoming more frequent or intense in the UK. Previous analysis of maximum temperatures in Sheffield and Valley (Anglesea) suggest not. However the report talks of mean temperatures, not maximums, and refers to the south of England where temperatures naturally tend to be a bit higher. So let’s take a closer look at their specific claims, and as usual, see what the facts tell us.


Figure 1 gives summer mean temperatures for England South, from the Met Office data here. There appears to be no trend to higher temperatures in recent years. Since 1989, temperatures have been slightly warmer than previous decades, but are still only at the sort of level seen in the 1940’s. Furthermore, there is no evidence of summers becoming warmer since 1989.

The two hot summers of 2003 and 2006 do, of course, stick out. But neither of these were as hot as 1976.



Figure 1


These, of course, are just average temperatures across the summer, so perhaps they could be hiding hotter interludes.

Figure 2 shows all days in Oxford, when mean temperatures reached 23.0C. Over the record since 1930, there have been 102 of these.



Figure 2


The hot summer of 2006 sticks out like a sore thumb, as does 1976, in terms of the number of days. However, the highest mean temperature reached in 2006 was 25.1C, in contrast to 1976, which recorded four hotter days topping out at 26.4C. Indeed there have been seventeen days on the record which were hotter than 25.1C.

Since 2006, there have been just five days over 23.0C, an average of 0.83 pa. The long term average since 1930 is 1.24. It is clear there is no trend towards more such days, or indeed towards such days becoming hotter.

Our rather child like climate “scientists” seem often to fix onto one particular event or year, and then naively assume this to be the new norm. But let’s assume years such as 2006 do become more common. How did that year compare to 1976?


No of Days >23.0C Av Temp of Days >23.0C Hottest Day
1976 10 24.7 26.4
2006 12 24.1 25.1


Although there were two more days in the latter that beat the 23.0C mark, clearly the heatwave was hotter in 1976. It is also worth noting that the heatwave in 1976 was concentrated over a much shorter period. All ten days in that year occurred between 25th June and 7th July. By contrast, the twelve days in 2006 were spread out from 12th June to 6th August.

The report, of course, gives a 25% probability of their predictions occurring by 2017. But surely we should, at the very least, be seeing some trend towards what they are predicting?

But there is no such trend. The hottest day recorded in the last six years was in 2009, when the temperature reached 25.2C. No other day has even exceeded 24.0C during that time.


So, once again, alarmist predictions bear no resemblance to the facts.

  1. Denier666 permalink
    December 10, 2012 9:41 am

    Pity no one looks at the facts, but then the God of climate change must be worshipped daily

  2. Denier666 permalink
    December 10, 2012 12:37 pm

    What about the winter excess deaths in the UK that run around 25,000 per year, even more when it is a cold winter, does no one care about them?

  3. Joseph Wilson permalink
    December 10, 2012 3:38 pm

    Paul, it is refreshing to see some facts in this crazy world of predictions by the so called experts. Keep up this very important aspect.

  4. Brian H permalink
    December 24, 2012 2:40 am

    If warming were to occur, it would like manifest first and foremost as raising of winter minimum temperatures. The reduction in cold-caused deaths (see fuel poverty, etc.) would surely offset by an order of magnitude or so any warming-caused deaths.

    As a further disjunct with reality, note that droughts are correlated with cooling trends (loss of atmospheric moisture), not warming.

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