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Hottest Day Of The Year – But Nothing Unusual

July 20, 2016

By Paul Homewood    





It was certainly hot yesterday, but how did the weather compare with earlier years.

It is significant that the Met Office report the RAF airfield at Brize Norton as the hottest place. Readers will recall how Heathrow supposedly set a record a year ago, which was a full degree higher than anywhere else.

Brize Norton is only a few miles down the road from the well maintained, good quality weather station at Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford. I have checked with Radcliffe, and they tell me the temperature there peaked yesterday at 32.3C. 

There is no geographic reason why temperatures at Brize Norton should be so much higher, but the Met Office still continue to deny that temperature sensors next to tarmac runways give unreliable readings. 


I have the daily temperature readings for Radcliffe from 1930 to 2011, which the Met Office used to supply on demand. In the last year or so, this sort of data has been much more difficult to get hold of, with the Met Office insisting I pay for it.

This is a totally unacceptable situation. All publically funded organisations have a duty to be as transparent as possible. In the US and Australia, for instance, NOAA and BOM provide this sort of data online.

Given that the Met Office are making such a song and dance about climate change, the least they should do is provide all of the data for anybody who wants to examine their claims more closely. But, there again, that is probably the reason they are trying to cover it up.

So, having got that moan out of the way, below is the chart showing days over 31C at Oxford, between 1930 and 2011. The hottest day was 3rd Aug 1990, with 35.1C (and still remains so).

Second hottest was 35.0C, way back on 19th Aug 1932.

The top temperature yesterday, by comparison, was only 32.3C. There were 23 warmer days between 1930 and 2011. (Obviously I am missing last year’s data, when there was one day which certainly would have appeared on the graph). In other words, temperatures like yesterday’s are fairly common, coming along every three or four years on average.






I also have some historical daily data for Sheffield, this time going back to 1882. As with Radcliffe, Sheffield’s is good quality data, maintained by the Weston Park Museum, in the park there. Below is the distribution of days of 30C+, this time up to 2014, which I have obtained from Weston Park itself. (Again, there will certainly be one day last year to add – I have already asked for 2015 data.)

Oxford and Sheffield also offer a fairly good cross section, particularly as the highest temperatures yesterday were in Oxfordshire up through the Midlands, and on to Yorkshire.

The highest temperature on record in Sheffield was 34.3C, on 3rd Aug 1990, the same day as the Radcliffe record.  Next hottest was 9th August 1911, with 33.5C.

Yesterday, the temperature reached only 30.8C. During the period, there have been 23 days which were hotter.





While the Sheffield site is  long running and well maintained, it is only half a mile from the city centre. As anybody who knows the city will tell you, Sheffield in the early 20thC was a very smoky and heavily industrialised place. Indeed, to my personal knowledge, right up to the 1970s.

How much higher would temperatures have been in 1911, if the air was as clean as it is now?





Either way, it is clear that the current heatwave is nothing unusual. Indeed, as far as Oxford and Sheffield are concerned. very little has changed in the last century.

  1. July 20, 2016 8:32 pm

    Could not beleive trains delayed because the rails were too hot. If the was the case trains would not run at all north of Sydney in Australia! Pathetic.

  2. CheshireRed permalink
    July 20, 2016 8:33 pm

    They charge and obstruct you because they fear you. 🙂

  3. Joe Public permalink
    July 20, 2016 8:42 pm

    C’mon Paul.

    You know that the turbulence generated by passing aircraft would help mix the air close to the ground and so, is more likely to lower the air temperature rather than raise it.

    The Met Office told you. In their response of 15 July, 2015 at 12:01 pm 😅

    • July 21, 2016 11:54 am

      You mean apart from the super heated exhaust gases from their jet engines. Mind you activity from RAF airfields is not what it used to be. Can’t comment about Brize though.

  4. July 20, 2016 8:48 pm

    Judging by the BBCs waffling, I assumed yesterday was the hottest day in the history of the world ever, and global warming was going to finish us all.

  5. Mr GrimNasty permalink
    July 20, 2016 8:50 pm

    Not that it makes any difference but I was watching Brize Norton ‘live’ and it actually peaked at 34.0C at 16:50. Not sure why they’ve logged 33.5C

    The BBC/Met man seemed pretty confident that the highest July minimum record would fall, but as there was no mention today I guess not, so 1948 @ 23.3C still stands.

  6. July 20, 2016 9:00 pm

    Paul you saw my news tip ? over on FF subsidies : Scots offshore wind ‘pretty much dead’ BBC quoting former minister claims

  7. tom0mason permalink
    July 20, 2016 9:22 pm

    “There is no geographic reason why temperatures at Brize Norton should be so much higher, but the Met Office still continue to deny that temperature sensors next to tarmac runways give unreliable readings. ”

    When you have a message to get out the truth is rarely required.
    Alternatively, and for a broader look, we have JULY Snow on Six of the Seven Continents —

  8. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    July 20, 2016 10:12 pm

    The jet stream yesterday was funnelling air up from just west of Morocco.
    Such sinuosity in Rossby waves is linked to low solar activity.

  9. July 20, 2016 11:46 pm

    Mr. Homewood… NASA taking it a step farther than the BBC?

  10. 1saveenergy permalink
    July 20, 2016 11:54 pm

    I know the one at Western park Sheffield, .
    Started in 1882 (in a leafy suburb when transport was horse & cart ), it’s now ~25m from the busy A57, a major bus route on a steep hill & close to three large concrete hospitals (the Children’s 50m across the road [see the air-con units on the roof] the Hallamshire 300m & Western park 250m); & you can see the ice-cream van (with fridge engine running) at the gate 21m away.

    They also use the large tarmac area 10m to the left to land the air ambulances; so lots of false heat sources.

    Consequently how accurate can the readings be ??

  11. nicko31 permalink
    July 21, 2016 7:03 am

    Seems the minimum was 21.2c at Radcliffe the warmest for 50 years. Recorded 22.4c in Abingdon

  12. July 21, 2016 7:43 am

    Paul, you may wish to cast an eye over a new solar paper that I saw R.Betts tweeting. Catch up is the name of the game.
    I predict that by 2050 climate science will be au natural, again. Possibly a 100 year cycle this one….

  13. July 21, 2016 11:56 am

    Did anyone notice it is summer? And July? We are supposed to go to 90 F today–it’s summer here, too.

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