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Faversham Sets Another Highest Temperature

September 7, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




According to the Met Office, the highest temperature on record in the UK was set in Faversham in 2003.

It is with interest that I also noticed that Faversham also set the highest temperature last month:




When the same place keeps setting records, suspicions arise whether local influences are at play. (I seem to recall Tim Channon taking a closer look at this issue a while ago?)


In any event, I asked the Met Office how long Faversham’s records date back, and received this reply:  


"The Faversham temperature records started in January 1959 but with a gap in the records from March 1990 to April 1998 inclusive. The record is continuous since May 1998.

For sunshine the records go back to January 1958 but with a gap from March 1990 to July 1998 inclusive. Rainfall only goes back to May 1998."



So there is no data for Faversham for August 1990, when so many station record highs were set. The UK record of 37.1C was set in Cheltenham that month, the record that was subsequently overhauled at Faversham in 2003. (Interestingly, the record prior to Cheltenham was 36.7C, set in 1911).

The question therefore raised itself, was it hotter at Faversham in 1990, than the record set thirteen years later. 


Faversham’s record may be OK as an entry in the Guinness Book of Records, but it seems to me that, for climatological purposes, such records are meaningless unless the station has a proper, long term climate record.

Otherwise, there is a danger of comparing apples with pears.

  1. September 7, 2016 11:09 am

    Haven’t there been a couple of “freak” records at Gravesend as well? Which suggests something about Kent.

    I remember being taught that Kent had the closest the UK got to a continental climate which meant high highs in summer and low lows in winter. I suppose that could have something to do with it. But I’m no meteorologist!

  2. September 7, 2016 12:00 pm

    It may just be that Faversham is generally a bit warmer than the local “average”, maybe because of low elevation, or being on a south-facing slope, or being sheltered from sea breezes.

    • Nigel S permalink
      September 7, 2016 12:12 pm

      We’re just off The Swale south of the east end of Sheppey. You’ve just missed the Hop Festival but still worth a visit. Britain’s oldest brewer amongst the many delights. The weather station is at Brogdale a little inland which has the National Fruit Collection.

  3. September 7, 2016 12:11 pm

    Faversham Weather Station have Facebook page
    and a Webpage

    • September 7, 2016 12:27 pm

      All Time Records to date (maybe limited to 2016) page bottom :
      Record high temperature: 35.6 oC at: 13:27 on: 24 Aug 2016
      (Yes day after Met Office quoted 34.1 )

      Record low temperature: -1.9 oC at: 05:17 on: 17 Mar 2016
      Warmest day on record 31.0 oC on: 24 Aug 2016

      Coldest night on record 0.5 oC on: 05 Mar 2016:

      • September 7, 2016 5:56 pm

        I had a look at that site, Stew

        I think it’s just a private one, not the official site

  4. September 7, 2016 12:39 pm

    Gravesend-Broadness mystery of the hot Met Office station Tallbloke 17 Aug 2012

    Met Off PDF talks about 2003 records
    “Several weather records were broken in the United Kingdom, with the UK recording its
    highest temperature of 38.5 °C at Brogdale near Faversham, in Kent, on 10th August” (2003)

    • September 7, 2016 12:44 pm

      @Chuckles left a comment and at TB’s & WUWT

      Final post by Stephen Burt is the most relevant, quoting from his article in ‘Weather’ –

      The results of three separate and independent analyses clearly
      demonstrate that the maximum reading of 38.5 ºC obtained at Faversham
      on 10 August 2003 is anomalous (approximately 2 degC too high) and
      cannot be easily accounted for meteorologically, climatologically, or
      statistically. The authors believe that other reasons must be sought
      to explain it*, and that ˜The Faversham Maximum™ cannot be regarded as
      sufficiently beyond doubt to justify its continued claim to the UK
      national temperature record.”

    • September 7, 2016 12:53 pm

      The local paper shines light10 years later
      “A study since then has uncovered that the 38.5C (101.3F) value may be anomalous”
      “…… The actual site also leaves something to be desired with the leylandii hedge being too close to the met enclosure – and possibly helping up the temperature. “

    • September 7, 2016 4:37 pm

      A WUWT comment shows a BBC report which has this info
      \\ A spokeswoman said:
      “That weather station is not run by the Met Office but by a volunteer so we had to check it ourselves and release the result now.”//

      …Check the 2nd to last commenter Dave who lives nearby who suggests that actually the reading are fairly accurate but the situation in the area can by anomalous on special days
      “The fact is, under the right wind conditions, this area IS the warmest in the UK, but a NE wind in winter or spring is more Siberia that anything else”

  5. Gerry, England permalink
    September 7, 2016 12:56 pm

    It certainly looks suspicious to me. What was the reason for the gap at the station? I also struggle with the idea that 24 August was that warm. I am on the edge of Kent and don’t recall it was super hot that day. Are they tweaking the data using the ‘warmest evah’ filter?

  6. tom0mason permalink
    September 7, 2016 3:39 pm

    The strangest thing is there no photos of this weather station anywhere. Surely someone had been there and photographed it?

    So as Stewgreen pointed out above only mentions “There is a very tall Leyland {sic}hedge (at least 6m) to the S of the station which was casting shade on the Campbell-Stokes recorder.
    Such a shame no-one thought to photograph it.

    • September 7, 2016 4:20 pm

      Direct Link to photo buried away at the end of the Tallbloke post I mentioned earlier

      Martin Clark says: August 19, 2012 at 12:55 am
      “Brogdale weather station. Sheltered by a Leylandii hedge, It’s not a Met office Synoptic station anyway.”
      (Synoptic weather stations are instruments which collect meteorological information at synoptic time 00h00, 06h00, …etc.)

      • tom0mason permalink
        September 7, 2016 5:02 pm

        Thanks stewgreen, at least there’s one to photo. I’m still surprised there are so few on line. Not even one at the Met Office, you would think they would have photos and a model of it as it’s such a record breaker!

  7. John F permalink
    September 7, 2016 4:53 pm

    Excellent and correct analysis. There seems to be a persistent problem with the continuity of temperature records. This is understandable but ought to be mentioned when headlining a specific data points. The other concern is the way these actual records are often patched with modelled data. It is a constant worry to me that many (young) scientists fail to understand the difference between measured and modelled data.


  8. September 7, 2016 5:19 pm

    If this is not a Met Office station why is the Met Office quoting its figures? Especially if there is evidence that they are unreliable.

    Anyone can play that game. The local maximum today, according to my reasonably well-placed thermometer, has been 31°. The current temperature in the suntrap beside the garage is 44°. If I ring Meteo France and tell them that do I get to go in the record books?

    • Nigel S permalink
      September 7, 2016 9:27 pm

      You might once Met Office have come to check your set up and results which is what happens at Brogdale.

      “In Faversham, the results come in every month.

      “We had to go and verify the information at Faversham to check the equipment and check it was running correctly.

      “That weather station is not run by the Met Office but by a volunteer so we had to check it ourselves and release the result now.”

    • Andy DC permalink
      September 7, 2016 11:31 pm

      My max/min thermometer is on a 10th floor, north facing balcony, about 10 miles northeast of Washington, DC. It never sees the sun. It never has topped 90 degrees over the last two summers. Meanwhile the “official” station at National Airport has recorded eighteen 95+ days this summer, including four 100+ degree days.

      So just goes to show, by changes of exposure, you can have a huge temperature variation in the same area. If politics are involved, exposure can be manipulated, thus all bets are off.

      By the way, my thermometer is not defective. It reads exactly the same inside as my indoor thermometers and the minimum temperatures are very comparable to other stations in the area. It just does hot heat up much during the daytime.

  9. dearieme permalink
    September 7, 2016 6:01 pm

    It’s not hard to believe that Faversham gets particularly hot. On the other hand I’ve visited the Brogdale National Fruit Collection. Naturally it’s arranged to be a good place to grow fruit, with a tall, thick Leylandii hedge to keep it snug. I doubt if it’s representative; a open pasture would be a far better spot.

    On reflection; isn’t it likely that any reported hot-spot is going to be unsuitable in some way?

  10. Nigel S permalink
    September 7, 2016 9:14 pm

    I think we do have our own micro-climate here. RHS at Wisley in Surrey produces maps showing areas with growing seasons ahead or behind Wisley. The coastal strip round Kent is the furthest ahead. It may explain why Henry VIII is said to have started fruit farming in this area. The Gravesend site looks much dodgier than Brogdale but both show how ridiculous it is to claim to take the Earth’s average temperature to tiny fractions of a degree. Brogdale Cider Festival was on 27th and 28th August this year so that probably can’t be blamed although the participants probably talked more sense than the Met Office.

  11. Chris Manuell permalink
    September 8, 2016 3:54 pm

    I know that weather station quite well. About 30 metres away there is a leylandii windbreak around an orchard, the reason it is there is to increase the temperature within the orchard by slowing down the wind speed. This helps the blossom to set in the spring and for more cell division so the apples grow larger.
    If of course it does that it will also cause higher temperatures at the site of the weather centre so it cannot be called a grade 1 temperature site.

  12. September 8, 2016 11:25 pm

    Because there was a discrepancy when the UK record was set in 2003 I have tried to establish if the offending conifer hedge that possibly contributed to a high reading has been reduced in height – to fulfil the MO recording standards. Alas, no one seems to know that looking at GoogleEarth suggests it could have been.

    I blogged on this on the 10th anniversary

    I also compared my site to other London sites during two hot days in August.

    My own site in east London is often warmer than the nearest official station at St James’s Park because I am in a frost hollow which has the opposite effect in summer. Though when you look at the SJP site it is obvious that the surrounding trees have grown a lot taller than when the climate station was set up. Though trying to maintain the same recording standards in central London must be nigh on impossible.

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