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More Detail On Gravesend’s “Highest Temperature”

September 20, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




I have been waiting for some information from the Met Office about the “hottest day since 1911”, which has finally come.

I will do a full analysis tomorrow hopefully, but this bit is important and needs a post of its own.


As you will probably be aware, we keep on seeing apparent “record temperatures” either at Gravesend in Kent, or Faversham, just 24 miles away.

The UK record temperature of 38.5C was set in Faversham in August 2003. It was Faversham again which set the highest temperature last month. Now it is the turn of Gravesend to record the “highest” temperature since 1911. (Unless they get another late reading from Faversham!)

Legitimate concerns about the siting of thermometers at Faversham have been raised, and also the local environs at Gravesend. I raised this issue a couple of weeks ago here.

I don’t want to revisit this matter, but I have been informed by the Met Office that their weather station at Gravesend has only been operating since 1995:




We already know that the Met Office only have continuous records at Faversham since 1998.

Whether there are local factors at play with Gravesend and Faversham or not, I don’t know. But is it is clear that we have a hot spot in this part of the country. It was in fact Gravesend, which originally set the record in 2003, until belated confirmation came through from Faversham.

It is little surprise then that temperatures here tend to be higher than ones recorded in earlier years elsewhere. Yet we have no way of knowing whether temperatures at Gravesend or Faversham have not been just as high in the past, for instance in August 1990, when so many records fell elsewhere.

As I have commented before, it is one thing for these sort of records to appear in the Guinness Book of Records. But they can have little climatic significance if they are not backed up by a long term set of data.

The claim, or at least the implication, is that the 2003 record, and other recent highs, are symptomatic of a warming climate. The evidence, however, does not bear this out.

  1. markl permalink
    September 20, 2016 5:42 pm

    Facts and history are not important when it comes to climate. It’s the message and people are becoming wary of “the message”. The only way to break the cycle is to apply the same ugly method that promotes it…..politics.

  2. Tom O permalink
    September 20, 2016 6:14 pm

    A couple of things come to mind here. First, perhaps they did search out the very warmest spots to place their thermometers, and perhaps they are not sited well. Those are relevant when you consider them as negating long term records. However, this statement here, makes no sense –

    “Yet we have no way of knowing whether temperatures at Gravesend or Faversham have not been just as high in the past, for instance in August 1990, when so many records fell elsewhere.”

    Does it matter if, in fact they did have high temperatures in the past? Does it take away from the fact that the reading, poorly sited though it may be, IS the highest reading since 1911? In fact, making a fuss over it actually makes us look foolish. It IS a record, so it is a record.

    What amused me is the concept of “since 1911.” This rather unobtrusively says that many years before AGW is supposed to have started, temperatures were higher, since UK temperature data goes many years further back than 1911. It says, in essence, exactly what we have been saying since the beginning – “yes, it’s warm, but it has been warmer before,” and that rather obviously points to the fact that we lived through warmer times, as did the world, so what is the big deal?

    • September 20, 2016 7:02 pm

      (y) = on certain social media that produces a thumbs-up iconette.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      September 21, 2016 2:59 pm

      Surely you jest. If the rest of the whole country was warmer in 1976 then it stands to reason that Gravesend or Faversham would also have been warmer in 1976.
      So it would not be a new record high “since 1911”, but a new record since 1976 or 1980 or any other warm year.
      They should only say that it is the highest record at these locations since records began at this location in the 1990s.
      It is the “message” that they are trying to convey. They did the same with rainfall stats by introducing new mountaintop weather stations where precip is higher so that they could declare the highest rainfall since records began.

      But you are correct, they make the mistake of including 1911 which rather gives away the fact that we are seeing nothing new despite all the Anthropogenic Global warming that has been taking place.
      NASA did the same thing when they published the Actual Temperature along with the Anomalies for 1997 which was 3 degrees F warmer than the supposed current warmest years EVAH.

      Liars often get caught out by not being consistent or careful enough.

  3. Dave Etchell permalink
    September 20, 2016 8:46 pm

    even by the small BBC standards of distorted reporting this is particularly worthless

  4. September 20, 2016 9:00 pm

    I would have replied on when the Gravesend-Broadness data started (yes 1995) and where to look. This horrible site is not comparable with the Gravesend town site. That the Met Office have the audacity to compare unlike as though valid tells a lot.

    The Faversahm record was a farse and they know it. I did months of works on that one but cannot publish the most telling evidence, copyright issues, where permission was not given. The old double screen, in a poor state, quickly removed by the Met Office and replaced with a plastic single in a moved position… all over poor ground, a rabbit warren where the screen was wired to metal tubes holding it from falling over. The ground desicated by roots and sun: orchards are designed as microclimates. Massive hedges were close by, stopping the wind and heating the air, cooking the screen. The enclosure had dark material spilling in from a heap, probably asphalt. The area was a kind of work midden. And I could go on. Eye popping stuff is here.

    The amusing side is the Met Office and civil servants, the establishment, having to live with this extreme temperature reading spewed all over the world. Embarrassing or it ought to be.
    There was no mention of the abnormal ionospheric conditions, strange weather. The most comparable site I could find nearby, looked quite good, all data kept out of public view, was closed shortly after the record. This looked a bit limp, no-one could be persuaded, nor automation put in?

    I think I have worked out why so many tempereature readings are dubious, subtle technical. Heads ought to be hanging. Never mind, I am seriously ill, if I get out ot this, actually able to go back to doing things there are some beans to spill.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      September 20, 2016 9:54 pm

      Tim, hope you get through OK,
      but don’t let your work disappear, make sure the info is passed on to someone who can use it wisely.
      All the best

    • A C Osborn permalink
      September 21, 2016 3:02 pm

      Tim, I am sorry to hear that you are ill. I hope things improve for you soon.

  5. September 20, 2016 9:32 pm

    Rules for interpreting reporting
    – “upto” doesn’t count,
    – sample size of 1 doesn’t count
    – limited geographical area doesn’t count
    What does count is trends over time, replicated multiple times over a wide geographical area.
    – Exceptions don’t matter
    What would matter is signs of something that might harm your life.
    … Unexpected warm day in September …Enjoy it

    But to True Believer propaganda orgs like the BBC Eco team : truth and perspectives doesn’t matter’s all about dirty PR and pushing narrative.

  6. September 20, 2016 9:50 pm

    So highest September temperature for 106 years
    …except the Gravesend station was not there for 84 of them
    ….. and Faversham was not there for 87 of them
    (they were there for just 22 and 19 of them)
    ..That is a lot of gaps in the data set.

  7. NeilC permalink
    September 21, 2016 4:41 am

    Having a quick look at the general topography of both sites, two thoughts came to mind.

    First observation, as both sites are close enough to a body of water (North Sea) and should be influenced by sea breezes (from NE) during high pressure, and hence a cooling effect.

    My second observation shows both locations are north of the Kent Downs and hence with any wind with a southerly aspect could cause a Foehn effect increasing temperatures.

    But of course as Tim (September 20, 2016 9:00 pm) shows above, local siting and equipment conditions can make a huge difference to readings.

    • September 21, 2016 9:28 am

      Grav. – B. is on a marsh headland, strongly affected by tidal wind change. Are a lot of local heat sources. Site is wet. Bad screen exposure, below berm. I agree strong weather will make itself known.

      Fohn, something I wonder about. Handwave claims are made, no evidence provided. Holiday in the Kent mountains. 🙂

  8. September 21, 2016 9:25 am

    From reading these horror stories you would think that Anthony Watts and his cohorts of volunteers had never existed.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert in these matters but I would have thought that it was a prime consideration for all recording stations that they conform to a standard environment with regard to the presence/absence of artefacts that might influence the figures — tarmac, concrete, aircraft & motor “exhaust gases”, heat-generating equipment of any sort, even encroaching urbanisation.

    Not only that but that the standards should be set and monitored by some organisation with no reason for its existence other than to ensure that these records are as accurate as possible and that all adjustments (resulting from site changes due to a decay in the existing standards, for example — and I’m struggling to think of any other legitimate reason) are fully recorded and fully justified.

    To give control of the raw data to anyone with an interest in using it for research has been proved to be the equivalent of leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. Without casting aspersions on any individuals, who may be as honest as the day is long, the perception exists, and the temptation must surely exist (indeed, we know it exists!), to arrange the figures to conform to a narrative either by cherry-picking (Faversham) or simply making the best of badly-sited stations (Heathrow).

    None of us here believes that a) it is possible to establish a global temperature to hundredths of a degree C, or b) that it is necessary to do that. But in the event that the next big temperature move is downwards and the current narrative is that it must be ever upwards, I can foresee problems when it finally dawns on us, too late, that temperatures are indeed falling even as we are still being told otherwise.

    • September 21, 2016 9:32 am

      The Met Office use their own specification notwithstanding they were on the 2010 WMO committee. The WMO standard is much better but still sloppy.

      Henhouse, yep.

  9. September 21, 2016 12:02 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    One wonders in years to come of we might not see Liu comments like this, especially considering Tim’s comments) regarding the Faversham and Gravesend sites (summer 1868):

    . Although not accepted (because of problems of comparison between Glaisher and Stevenson screens), the maximum temperature recorded on the 22nd July, 1868 at Tonbridge, Kent is still remarkable: 100.6 degF/(converted=38.1degC) [ It is now thought that this value, when compared with the ‘standard’ Stevenson screen, is about 1.5C or 2C too high.]

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