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Met Office Covers Up Old Record Temperatures

August 13, 2017

By Paul Homewood







According to the Met Office, the highest officially recorded temperature in the UK was set at Faversham (Kent) back in 2003.

Faversham certainly appears to be in a hot spot, as it has regularly appeared in “hottest” lists since then. The same can be said of Gravesend, which is in the same part of the country.

Faversham has in fact only had continuous data since 1998, and Gravesend since 1995, so we cannot know if higher temperatures were set there in earlier years.

Senior meteorologist, Philip Eden, has his own concerns about the Faversham “record”. Writing in 2015, he stated that the reading of 38.5C was now widely discounted:



This is believed to have reference to siting concerns.

But this is not what I am concerned with today.


The Met Office has an account of the heatwave in August 2003, which shows this table for Aug 10th, when the record was set.



Note that Faversham was 0.4C higher than anywhere else.

According to the Met Office, the old record was 37.1C at Cheltenham in 1990. So, even if the Faversham figure was wrong, on the face of it the old record was still beaten by a long way.



Or at least it appears to be until we check out the Met Office’s weather report for August 1911.




We find that a temperature of 100F was set at Greenwich, or 37.8C, much higher than that Cheltenham “record”.

Discounting the dodgy record at Faversham, the next hottest place was Kew with 38.1C, only slightly higher than the temperature in 1911. The increased UHI effect in the last century must surely account for that difference, and a lot more.

We also find that, in August 2003, Greenwich only reached 37.5C, less than in 1911.

Very conveniently, the Met Office ignores these earlier records. Notice the comments on the first table.


“Digital data records back to …..”

In other words, the supposed record temperatures at each station are only calculated since digital records began. In the case of Kew, it is only since 1981!

Such claims are worthless, so why does the Met Office continue to make them?

They have a small number of high quality, long running sites across the country, such as Oxford and Greenwich, and there is no reason why these cannot all be quickly digitalised. Once that is done, only these stations should be used when claiming record this and record that.

A record temperature at Faversham may be of interest to the Guinness Book of Records. But it does not belong in any serious analysis of climate.

  1. August 13, 2017 10:48 am

    If the Met Office were run like a proper company, with accountability of its employees, there would be mass sackings for this deception and corrupt behaviour

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      August 13, 2017 2:32 pm

      There would be police enquiries.

  2. Dung permalink
    August 13, 2017 10:52 am

    Once again you ‘set the record straight’ and keep us informed, a huge thank you!

  3. Chris, Leeds permalink
    August 13, 2017 11:30 am

    The difficulty is that most records set before the 1870s or 1880s were from temperatures in Glaisher stands, with the standard Stevenson Screen only introduced from the 1870s and with many stations not making the change for a number of years, well after 1911. Unfortunately Greenwich continued using the Glaisher stand well into the 20th Century, although my understanding is that they did have a Stevenson Screen and somewhere those data must exist. The 100f was recorded in the Glaisher Stand and so is now discounted.

    The issue is that Glaisher stands are open fronted and tend to read higher on sunny days and lower during nights than a Stevenson Screen. Experiments at Strathfield Turgiss between 1868-70 comparing the two showed that maxima were 1 to 1.5F higher in a Glaisher stand, with occasional days with an even bigger difference. Joyce Laing’s article in the Met Magazine in 1977, which looked at all the comparisons and the data for the record summers of 1868 and 1911 also confirms that the temperature recorded in the Stevenson Screen at Greenwich on 9 August 1911 was 96.6F (35.9C), compared to the 100F in the Glaisher Stand on the same day.. Incidentally Laing thought that in 1868 the much reported Tonbridge maximum of 100.5F on 22 July 1868 would probably be 97-98F(36.1c to 36.7C) in a Stevenson Screen.
    More interesting is why the 98F (36.7C) recorded at Epsom (Surrey), Raunds (Northants) and Canterbury (Kent) in August 1911 and ALL in Stevenson Screens are not now seemingly recognised. 99F (37.2c) was also reported at Isleworth, a Real Met Society station in 1911, although we don’t know the exposure details. There was also 98.8F (37.1C) at Ponder’s End in standard conditions and in a Stevenson Screen – although we don’t know the type of thermometer…this record is also now ignored or lost.
    But the real issue now must be the sheer scale of urbanisation that has occurred since 1911, which must have contributed to an urban ‘heat island’ effect. And are the modern electronic thermometers more sensitive to make quick responses to short-term bursts of heat than the mercury thermometers of previous decades? The sharp jump in temperature at Heathrow on at least one of its ‘record-breaking’ days has been the subject of discussion on this site before.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 13, 2017 2:20 pm

      Yes, electronic thermometers will have a quick response time. You could if you wanted add some damping in the reading circuit but since the MetO want the highest peak for the shortest time why would they? And peak temperatures of a few minutes are not really authentic.

      My rough UHI check a few months back using my car thermometer but since the same instrument was used for both measurements and it is the difference that is important would be valid. Outside a club in Sutton to my home in Surrey from 11pm with journey time of max 45mins, 5C difference.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    August 13, 2017 11:35 am

    Even if the cost of digitising all the records was prohibitive, there is presumably a synopsis for each station giving its maxima and minima? If this information is readily available to the Met Office, then their refusal to use it is dishonest, bordering on the downright illegal.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      August 13, 2017 12:43 pm

      Given MO resources the cost would be an irrelevance.

      • HotScot permalink
        August 14, 2017 8:07 pm

        Cheshire |Red

        My thoughts as well.

        Nor do I understand why digitising the records would be prohibitive.

  5. Brooke permalink
    August 13, 2017 11:36 am

    It really is sinister to see the infiltration of what should be independant professional organisations, by the warmist agenda. You have to wonder where this infiltration starts and ends.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 13, 2017 2:55 pm

      Government agency produces reports and data that support government taxation policy? Who would have guessed?

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 13, 2017 1:02 pm

    Same applies to claims of record extreme rainfall – they should only compare with good quality continuous stations, not recent semi/un-official additions deliberately placed on the up slopes of the known wettest places in the country – this is just fishing for a record, not helping climate science.

  7. richard verney permalink
    August 13, 2017 1:24 pm

    If you look at the webcam on the Faversham Weather Station, it is obvious that this is a very poor sited station in close proximity to urbanisation (housing dominates the picture) .

    As one knows, in absolute terms (not anomaly trends) urbanisation can add up to 8degC to temperatures, and 2 to 3 degrees is very common.

    To me, a ‘record’ at a station like Faversham is meaningless.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      August 13, 2017 4:44 pm

      Especially when the station was less than a decade old at the time and had no data for either 1976 or 1990!

      Incidentally, does anyone see a pattern here — 1963, 1976, 1990, 2003 … Not unlike 1947, 1963, 1981? Or is that a bit too simple?

  8. Athelstan permalink
    August 13, 2017 1:42 pm

    real observation and carefully done – is a labour of love and accuracy of readings are, is vital.

    What a to do?

    I know it is too big an ask – unpaid…………Though the money that is thrown at the professional soothsayers……………..surely?………… I wish there was a bunch of dedicated amateurs willing to have a Thermometer/rainfall gauge to sit on their land, in their gardens to be measured daily – in all weathers it would be big ask – admittedly it is a task only for anoraks – mmm sorry……… ;-).

    Simply put, I don’t trust a figure or any sort of statistic farted/ emitted out of the governmental warming advocacy agency – otherwise known as the ‘wet office’.

    Indeed, the demise of It [the wet office] serves as a metaphor for the wanton decay, enfeeblement and its malignant prejudice which has permeated and steeped into all of our once august mainly honest institutions.

    From, the RS to the wet office to the FCO to the BEIS, to Defra, DoEducation, Universities, councils, quangoes, throughout and across the nation – all is corrupted and nannyfied mulch is all we hear from them, as I said “advocacies” and downright propaganda organs – it what they are, the lot of ’em.
    A dumbed down audience helps, at least in Soviet Russia – they still believed in a proper education for their children.

    Finally and I’ve said this once or twice, Orwell’s ‘1984’ was a precautionary tale, a novel for goodness sake, not written to be a template and manual.

    • Bitter&twisted permalink
      August 13, 2017 2:23 pm

      “Wet Orifice” is a more accurate description.

      • Athelstan permalink
        August 13, 2017 3:19 pm

        Indeed, I’m liking it.

    • HotScot permalink
      August 14, 2017 8:33 pm


      “real observation and carefully done – is a labour of love and accuracy of readings are, is vital.”

      It’s only vital to establish trends. It would seem logical that with traditional Stephenson screens with conventional equipment, daily readings will be taken at regular intervals. Assuming it’s not once an hour, every 24 hours, which would be almost impossible with most measuring stations as there simply isn’t the manpower, temperature spikes will be missed.

      For example, if the routine is to take readings every 4 hours, any time within a 4 hour period could see spikes that subside before the next reading. And how many traditional stations are monitored overnight, scant few I suspect.

      And whilst there may have been some diligent scientists who took daily readings themselves, being that the climate, and even the weather wasn’t high on the political agenda, how many tea boys, or cabin boys were sent out to take readings? How many were simply forgotten about and data guessed, or filled in from the previous days information.

      We know about the issues over the siting of the screens, but how many were actually painted in the regulated colour, using the same type of paint, if they were painted at all?

      And of course we are also talking about thermometers that would doubtless be read by some myopic navvy (apologies to navvies) who would just round the figure up or down to the nearest degree.

      And yet these historic measurements are used to judge today’s temperatures to within 0.01 degrees C.

      The entire concept is preposterous.

  9. Athelstan permalink
    August 13, 2017 1:47 pm

    This is a fun read with a sober, serious theme and imho: very well said.

    Click to access Clive-James.pdf

    • HotScot permalink
      August 14, 2017 8:14 pm


      It’s interesting that Clive James, a trained journalist and an intelligent man, took a fresh, unbiased look at the subject of AGW, with apparently no preconceptions, but plenty of time on his hands to do the necessary rummaging, and became a sceptic.

  10. August 13, 2017 6:14 pm

    It was just reported that “2016 hottest year on record – for Los Angeles, CA –
    NOAA reports.” Needless to say, I doubt that this is true. For starters, they don’t adjust for the UHI effect. Still on the books, are 25 record high temperatures for the summer months of June – Aug (92 days), which were set prior to 1900. There would not have been any UHI effect at that time.

  11. August 13, 2017 7:12 pm

    If the MetOffice wants people to obsess over isolated temperature readings, does it not suggest some desperation to divert attention away from the ‘pause’ and to whip up unnecessary anxiety?

  12. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    August 14, 2017 1:56 am

    When you write about the prevalence of a certain type of thinking in public offices do you think of a tipping point when that point of view becomes dominant, to be supported by those who truly value democracy?
    I am in my late 70s so I might not see such a tipping point, so I can but warn my youngsters and their generation about it. Do you, personally, think it will happen? I value your considered view. Geoff

    • HotScot permalink
      August 14, 2017 9:02 pm


      if I can offer a suggestion.

      Most public offices in the UK, and doubtless the US, are predominantly left wing. I could go into my reasons for believing that but it’s too long and drawn out, other than I was a civil servant for 11 years.

      That being the case, a tipping point will come when the political terrain shifts under the AGW debate and it becomes no longer an altruistic gesture to feed the monster, with other people’s money.

      Remember, these people are already suckling from the tit of the taxpayer, so squeezing ‘the wealthy’, in other words, anyone who earns more than them, is meaningless to them as few have little ambition beyond retiring on a fat pension.

      However, that is changing with final salary schemes falling from favour, which means these people will be forced to take more responsibility for their own futures, and then they’ll give a fcuk about their tax money being wasted.

      I doubt it will be in either of our lifetimes, I’m 10 years or so your junior, but it will be in our gradkids lifetimes and the only support we can give to our children, is to pile as much money as they can into their pensions as they can. Hopefully that will filter down to our grandchildren.

      I have no evidence for the following, other than anecdotal, but by and large I believe Americans are far more financially aware than we Brits as they are forced to take responsibility for their own futures. Left wing politics, the welfare state and the NHS have done us few favours in terms of self reliance.

  13. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 14, 2017 10:29 am

    The believers lobby: met office, BBC,ITV, Newspapers etc still hold the power position of supressing opposition views. Hard to see this ending soon, sadly.

    I’m trying to find out what has happened in the Mann vs Ball Hockey stick case. All seems to be confused with lawyers claims (the usual obfuscation method) flying about. Is there any source that can be validated or is this becoming another Leverson Enquiry type of establishment cover-up: is Mann in contempt of court???

    An interesting debate about what is a climate scientist occurred on one of the web-sites. Ball is a geography professor which apparently discounted him until it was shown that traditionally climate science was a sub-discipline of geography. It is clearly a pseudo-science field now in which the scientific method has been forgotten.

    • bea permalink
      August 15, 2017 8:05 am

      Indeed, “climate scientists” are the parvenus and they should keep silent until they have learned their manners – say in a century or two.

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