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BBC Mislead Public With Fake Heat Record Scares

July 16, 2018
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood


  Now the BBC has jumped on the “record temperature” scam, set off in the Washington Post last week:


Parts of the world are sweltering in record temperatures – and it’s not a problem confined only to summer in the northern hemisphere.

Records are being broken across the globe – so where have things been particularly bad? And why is this happening? 

1) Eastern Canada

What happened?

Cities across the region suffered a deadly heat wave last week, with at least 70 deaths attributed to the record hot spell in Quebec province alone.

In Canada’s capital Ottawa, in Ontario, the humidity index – the method used there to measure the combined humidity level and temperature – hit 47C (116.6F) on 2 July.

Most of the 70 deaths in neighbouring Quebec took place in the city of Montreal. Most victims were aged 65 or over and already had pre-existing medical conditions. The lack of air conditioning in their buildings was a significant contributing factor, doctors said.

So why did this happen?

Over to BBC Weather’s Ben Rich: "The jet stream has shifted further north than usual, allowing a plume of very warm air to waft northwards across the USA and into large parts of Canada. There was also less rainfall than normal during May and June – and dry ground heats up more quickly, so temperatures have been able to rise well above average."



2) The Caucasus region

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Hopefully this bather in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi remembered the Factor 50 sun cream

What happened?

The whole Caucasus region, a mountainous area on the border of Europe and Asia, has suffered particularly high temperatures this month.

The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, hit an all-time high of 40.5C (104.9F) on 4 July, but the heat has put a significant strain on (often ageing) power grids in other countries nearby.

Nearby, there have been major power cuts in Iran because demand outstripped the electrical system’s capabilities as people try to stay cool. The government there has urged people to conserve energy wherever possible.

There were major breakdowns in the water supply in Armenia’s capital Yerevan as the heat crossed 40C, and, unfortunately, a festival in which people drench each other with water was about to start.

(If you speak Azeri and want to see how people coped in the capital Baku, you can watch BBC Azeri’s coverage here.)

So why did this happen?

Ben Rich: "Over the past few months low pressure has often been sitting across the south east of Europe. In the northern hemisphere, winds move anticlockwise around a low pressure area, and these winds have drawn very warm air from Africa and the Middle East northwards into Armenia – hence temperatures have been much higher than normal."



3) Southern California

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Parts of California have been suffering wildfires brought about by the record heat

What happened?

Record after record fell in southern parts of California last week:

  • Downtown Los Angeles had its hottest July night in history, with a minimum of 26.1C (79F) on 7 July
  • Chino, outside LA, saw its hottest-ever temperature – 48.9C (120F)
  • The temperature at University of California, Los Angeles, hit 43.9C (111F), breaking a 79-year-old record

There’s been a significant knock-on effect of the record heat in parts of the state – and as in Iran, it led to unprecedented demand on the power grid. As a result, more than 34,000 homes were left without power.

‘Red flag’ warnings, indicating the risk of serious wildfires, remain in place for large parts of the state.

Last Friday, Peggy Frank, a 63-year-old postal worker, was found dead in her truck in a suburb of Los Angeles where the temperature reached 47.2C (117F). Media reports said the truck did not have air conditioning and Mrs Frank had suffered heat stroke at work once before.

So why did this happen?

In essence, it’s the same problem that has affected eastern Canada. So is this down to climate change? It’s hard to pin it on that and only that, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says.

"Episodes of extreme heat and precipitation are increasing as a result of climate change," it says. "Although it is not possible to attribute the individual extreme events of June and July to climate change, they are compatible with the general long-term trend due to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases."


4) Sydney, Australia

What happened?

Bear in mind that it is the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere – but despite this, it is scorching in some places.

Last week, the temperature in Sydney topped 24.7C (76.5F) over two days in July for the first time since records began. That’s roughly eight celsius higher than the average temperature for this time of year.

This comes after most parts of the city recorded their hottest-ever autumn.

So why did this happen?

Ben Rich: "Temperatures rose during early July as an area of high pressure settled to the east of Australia, bringing warm northwesterly winds from the Equator down across the eastern side of Australia. The recent La Nina event may be another factor – sea temperatures in the western Pacific have been a little above average, helping to lift the temperatures over land too."



5) Algeria (maybe)

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ouargla: very hot

What happened?

There are plenty of caveats here, but Africa’s hottest recorded temperature may have been registered last week.

Some background: as it stands, the official hottest temperature recorded on the continent was 55C (131F) in Kebili, Tunisia, in 1931.

However, meteorologists are unsure how credible that reading is (doubts linger about the way the information was gathered).

Now, there are grounds to believe Africa’s hottest reliable record temperature was registered in Ouargla, northern Algeria, on 5 July: 51.3C (124.3F).

Some more caveats: this has not been officially recognised as a record by the WMO, which takes some time to scrutinise the data. However, the WMO does say the record is "likely" to have been broken. There’s also some suspicion that the proximity of the weather station to the heat of a runway may have skewed the reading.

So why did this happen?

Our environment correspondent Matt McGrath writes:

"In common with many parts of the world, Algeria has seen a significant rise in heat waves over the past 30 years that experts say is down to rising global temperatures.

"According to one study, the frequency of heat waves lasting three days or longer has more than doubled between 1988 and 2015.

"In fact, researchers believe Algeria will be a global hotspot for climate change. A 2014 study from the World Bank suggested that the strongest warming in North Africa would take place in inland Algeria. If the world fails to rein in carbon emissions, and the planet warms by an average of 4C, Algeria could see a sweltering 8C rise by the end of this century.

"The extreme temperatures of recent weeks may be a foretaste of the norm in decades to come."


So let’s look at the facts again:


1) Canada

As we know, the supposed record temperature in Montreal was 36.6C, measured in the middle of the city.

However, this is way below the all-time high of 40.0C for Quebec, set in 1921.

Furthermore, nearly every Canadian state record was set prior to 1941. There is simply no evidence at all that temperatures this month have been abnormally high.




The BBC even drags out the “humidity index” claim, to scare people with fake numbers:

In Canada’s capital Ottawa, in Ontario, the humidity index – the method used there to measure the combined humidity level and temperature – hit 47C (116.6F) on 2 July.

But the idea of a humidity index is something fairly new, and there is no proper historical database with which to compare.


2) The Caucasus

Again, the heavily urbanised Tbilisi and Yerevan are used to claim new records, without any mention of the UHI effect.

Whilst the weather has been exceptionally hot there recently, there is no evidence given that it is in any way unprecedented.

And the BBC’s own weather guy, Ben Rich explains that it is simply the result of natural weather patterns. As we know, these meteorological set ups always bring warmer than normal weather to somewhere or other in the world.


3) California

WUWT has already highlighted how the supposed downtown record is based on a thermometer based in the middle of a car park, surrounded by busy roads and buildings.

UCLA’s is even next to an exhaust vent.


As for Chino, it is yet another airport site:




But more importantly, it only has data since 1972, meaning that there is no record there of the really hot weather earlier in the century, for instance in 1913 when the all-time state record of 134F was set:



4) Sydney

Ah yes, Sydney which is in the middle of the city and just yards away from the A4 motorway.



And when we check July max temperature trends in Sydney, we find that they have steadily risen over the years.



Strangely enough though, the four highest temperatures recorded in NSW in July are from 1958 and 1926:



So how do Tibooburra’s latest temperatures compare with those earlier ones?

The highest so far this month is 25.1C, way below those historical records.




Tibooburra PO stopped recording in 2014, but till then there has been little trend in July temperatures since 1920:




The Post Office has been supplanted by the Airport site, with overlap back to 1998. Again, the Airport shows no trend since opening, confirming that the Post Office trends are still valid today.

Comparison of the PO and AP data between 2010 and 2014 shows that they correlate to within 0.4C or less.




The “trends” and “records” found at Sydney are no more than an artefact of UHI.

5) And Algeria (maybe?)

Even the BBC is forced to admit that the proximity of the weather station to the heat of a runway may have skewed the reading!

But it does not stop arch warmist, Matt McGrath blaming it all on global warming.




The whole article is an utterly dishonest piece of propaganda, cherry picking a bit of hot weather and using extremely dodgy data to mislead the public.

  1. July 16, 2018 5:35 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    More fake news from the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. Given their charter and massive publicly funded budget it is astonishing how they continue to get away with this. A shameless bunch of propagandists long overdue withdrawal of our licence fee.

    • July 16, 2018 7:07 pm

      The strange thing about the BBC is that it believes it is trustworthy, even as it brings fake and made-up news. At the bottom of every news page is a link entitled “Why you can trust BBC news”. They strive for “journalism that is accurate, impartial, independent and fair”. It’s a pity they invariable fail in their striving. “We are independent, impartial and honest”. Oh yes,

      • Athelstan permalink
        July 16, 2018 9:16 pm

        Yes but the beeb is full of overpaid lounging creatures, that they’re all one eyed amoebas = pretty thick is noted and recorded,
        The ‘others’ (think shukman, attenberg, harrabin et al), all of ’em living in the glass domed echo chamber, nobody knows nor even is able to ask the right questions, And no one needs to, all inputs, pensions and food is free and it’s a leftist hothouse of writhing lianas in mind funk of ‘parasitical symbiosis’ – euphemism.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        July 17, 2018 7:56 am

        I think the BBC genuinely believes it is impartial, because it has fallen into the trap of assuming its own opinions are “fact”. My daughters are genuinely confused when I say that support for gay marriage (and I support it) is just an opinion, not a fact or something proven to be right.

        The BBC believes in climate change, it believes we must do sipomething about it now and so reporting anything that fits those two assumptions must be right.

        At the heart of many of our problems are systematic misdefinitions.

      • Curious George permalink
        July 17, 2018 4:58 pm

        They no longer allow commenting. They are not that stupid.

  2. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 16, 2018 6:09 pm

    Put ever more measuring instruments in areas of continuous concrete and tarmac expansion. Deliberately place them in areas where satellites have discerned anomalous heat/rain often occurs. Close down the best sited stations and the ones that don’t ‘run hot’.
    Report every high reading no matter if it is a proper weather station or just Joe Blogg’s greenhouse. Re-evaluate old records and decide they were wrong, strike them out.

    Sit back and wait for a meaningless record and scream “it’s the end of the world”.

    Add in a bit of statistical dishonesty – oh it’s a 1/1000 year event but it’s happening all the time (yer 1/1000 in a single location, but it might happen almost everyday somewhere, might happen 2 days running but then not for a million years – means nothing except random).

    It’s all very predictable, but sadly the public are easily duped.

  3. July 16, 2018 6:49 pm

    How many places DIDN’T break high temperature records?
    How many places had abnormally low temperatures?
    This is confirmation bias, pure and simple.

    • July 16, 2018 7:58 pm

      Mostly propaganda to keep the climate agitation level up. If enough people are impressed by these supposed records, however meaningless, that will be what they get.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      July 17, 2018 7:59 am

      Since “temperature” at any given moment is fixed, if somewhere is hotter than the global average at that time then somewhere else must be cooler than that average. The global average now is only a few tenths of a degree above the long term average so if we have places that are a lot hotter than that average then either there must be a few places that are a lot cooler, or most of the globe must be a bit cooler. That’s simple maths surely?

  4. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 16, 2018 7:50 pm

    The AGW-believers continue to totally dominate all the controlled meja. The Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineers had an article published in The Engineer claiming that the UK should remove CO2 from the air because the UK is responsible for 6% of historical carbon burn. It also claimed that the COP 22 agreements were powerful and effective. Naturally, The Engineers will not publish any criticisms of the article.

    Our only hope is the Internet and Trump: both of which are rubbished by the establishment, but present factual debates much better than the general meja. Small wonder that fewer and fewer people watch News Bulletins or buy newspapers as they are well aware of the Fake News being peddled.

  5. Tom Dowter permalink
    July 16, 2018 8:28 pm

    It is easy to exaggerate the effect of the UHI in making global warming seem rather larger than it might otherwise be. One would not expect sea surface temperatures or the satellite data to be contaminated by this effect. Yet both show that warming has happened and continues to happen.

    On a previous blog, I mentioned that I had taken each of the main surface temperature series and ranked the ten year moving averages from hottest to coldest. I have now done the same thing with the satellite data. I get a very similar result to what I got from the surface data. Namely, in UAH version 6.0 I find that all but one of the 18 hottest ten year averages end in 2000 or later. With RSS version 4.0, none of the 18 hottest averages end prior to 2000.

    Of course, UHI might be rather more important when we consider isolated temperatures over a very short time scale. But such data tells us very little.

    Incidentally, both GISS and BEST have noted that very rural stations tend to warm faster than more urban ones. GISS even makes adjustments for this! I am far from convinced that this is justified however.

    • July 16, 2018 9:13 pm

      Why are SSTs increasing, as GHGs cannot cause that? Is it SSTs that are causing land temps to increase?

      Then of course we have the problems surrounding measurement of SSTs over the decades and huge adjustments made.

      UAH and RSS only date back to 1979, the coldest decade since the early 20thC, so trends since then are meaningless.

      Bottom line is that when we look at non UHI affected data, we keep finding that top temperatures were as high or higher back in the 20thC. Maybe winters are milder, or nights not as cold, but those top temperatures don’t appear to be rising.

      All of this in any event misses the point. The BBC and others want to scare people , using emotive words like “heat records”. Yet the data they present is shown to be fake. They need to be called out.

      • paul weldon permalink
        July 17, 2018 7:18 am

        I would not disagree with most of what you say here, except to make the point that it is theoretically possible for GHGs to cause SSTs to rise. As the oceans can only cool by transfer of heat to the atmosphere, any change in the atmosphere can effect the rate of ocean cooling. Not, of course, that GHGs are the only variable – evaporation, precipitation, movement of water towards the poles, changes in cloud cover and ENSO to name but a few. And of course, solar input may also change.

      • dave permalink
        July 17, 2018 8:48 am

        “As the oceans can only cool by transfer of heat [heat energy*] to the atmosphere…”

        But we are talking about SST’s.

        The ‘surface layer’ of the ocean (which has to be further specified before making a completely meaningful statement) also cools, by:

        (1) Transfer of heat to lower layers;

        (A) The top 100 meters of water is thoroughly mixed every year, mainly because of winter storms;

        (B) Complete mixing, by global overturning, which takes about a thousand years**

        (2) Direct radiation to space of the 10% of infra-red which is “in the window.”

        *That part of internal energy which manifests in a measurable temperature.

        ** Partial mixing – down to 500 meters – of the net heat inflow since the middle of the 19th C is well under way.

      • dave permalink
        July 17, 2018 9:08 am

        Anyhoooo – measures of SST anomalies meander slightly, but essentially have gone nowhere for twenty years:

      • paul weldon permalink
        July 18, 2018 7:16 am

        Dave, you really have missed the point. The oceans are coupled to the atmosphere and are inextricably linked. The interface is the ocean surface and the effect of GHGs on temperatures here are what is being discussed. I have read several arguments that show that GHGs have no effect on SST. Although plausible, they only consider a direct role. My argument is that one must consider indirect effects, which also have a role. GHGs change temperature in the atmosphere and therefore have an effect on other factors such as evaporation, which also has an effect on SSTs.
        So, sticking to the point, which Paul would you go with? Do GHGs have an effect on SST or not?

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 17, 2018 9:59 am

      “Incidentally, both GISS and BEST have noted that very rural stations tend to warm faster than more urban ones.”

      Some published research disagrees with that. They also seem to have an issue identifying genuine rural/urban stations.

      Historic SST data, well there isn’t much in reality, and as admitted in a ‘climategate’ email some of the S.Hemi ocean data is just completely made up. And then there was the blatant 2015 Karl ‘pause buster’ (throwing out bad data for worse) produced for Obama just in time for Paris.

      With all climate data, the more you dig, the more inadequate/worthless you realise it is, and then on top of that, it is polluted by a political agenda.

  6. Ian George permalink
    July 16, 2018 9:21 pm

    Regards Sydney’s record 2 days in July mentioned above:
    ‘Last week, the temperature in Sydney topped 24.7C (76.5F) over two days in July for the first time since records began. That’s roughly eight celsius higher than the average temperature for this time of year.’

    In 1975, two consecutive days in July were recorded as 25.4C and 24.7C. Do the maths – they average out the same.
    So correct as to both over 24.7C – but also misleading as to the claim it was some sort of two day record heat.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    July 16, 2018 11:50 pm

    At our local airfield (KELN, Ellensburg, WA), the records are

    July 16 2018 (today) 102° F.
    July 16th 107°F. during 1941
    July record (day ?) 110° F. during 1928

    Tomorrow will be hot, but cooler.
    Friday they expect a high of 84° F.

    “So why did this happen?

    Rumor has it, that it is summer!

    • July 17, 2018 10:59 am

      We had that hot week here in WV-in the mid-to upper 90’s. For a couple of those days I was clearing out flower beds and it was quite miserable with the high humidity. However, things soon returned to “normal” for summer. Actually it was all “normal” just not every year.

  8. martinbrumby permalink
    July 17, 2018 7:25 am

    Last night on ‘News’ at ten, they were banging on about the hottest temperature being recorded at Gravesend. (As a change from Heathrow).

    I seem to remember you pointing out the Gravesend readings are contaminated by heat from a huge sewer outfall. Or does my memory play tricks?

  9. July 17, 2018 11:00 am

    Does longwave infrared radiation from the atmosphere heat the oceans? To answer that question consider the energy of a typical infrared photon: 100 meV (milli-electron-volts), and the latent heat of evaporation of a water molecule: 600 meV. The photon has insufficient energy to evaporate a water molecule, except in rare circumstances, when it hits an almost-evaporating water molecule. Most photons will hit nowhere-near evaporating water molecules.

    Thus, most of the incoming infrared photons are absorbed, hence provide heating. In fact, this heating is highly potent because it takes place in a thin film of surface water.

    A small percentage of the infrared photons will cause the direct evaporation of water molecules, which cools the surface.

    The balance between heating and cooling is difficult to quantify, but looks very much in favour of heating.

    • paul weldon permalink
      July 18, 2018 7:33 am

      So GHGs do have a direct effect on SSTs. I was looking at indirect effects. So we appear to have both, which brings Paul H’s statement into question. Paul, I know you are a stickler for accuracy, perhaps you could find time to comment? I personally am undecided which version is correct, more info would help to solve another unknown in the climate change debate. (maybe?)

      • July 18, 2018 8:48 am

        As I understand it, if water or air temperatures change, then both find a new equilibrium.

        But given the massively greater heat capacity of the oceans, the change in ocean temperatures ought to be tiny.

        Think of an indoor swimming pool. If the water is heated up to 80F, the air above becomes hot and humid. But if instead you warm the air up to 80F, would you notice the difference in the pool?

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        July 19, 2018 1:39 pm

        During the 1970s “Global cooling” Fear Campaign, CO2 was going to cool, then freeze, the oceans by absorbing the heat that goes into the surface layers. It is not possible to heat the oceans from the air until the air is hotter than the ocean, as with ice formation. The CO2 in the air was expected to increase nocturnal heat losses.

        Seemed almost credible at the time as global temperatures were falling every year.

  10. July 17, 2018 11:33 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    “Urbanization in Phoenix has quickly converted geographic terrains from natural landscapes, such as grasslands, open soil, and undisturbed desert area, and cultivated vegetation, such as croplands, to manmade engineered surfaces and infrastructure. The effect of the built-up environment manifests itself by impacting turbulent transport radiative heat exchange and hydrological processes, especially in urban canopies [36]. Schatz and Kucharik also demonstrated in their paper that the built-up environment was the primary driver of the spatial change in temperature patterns in the urban area [37]. They found that urban environments, together with their dark impervious surfaces and reduced vegetation cover, normally have large heat capacity and high thermal conductivity rates [34,38,39,40,41,42]. This not only causes less incoming solar radiant energy to be reflected, but also less of the energy to be converted to latent heat associated with evaporation and transpiration [43].”
    Spatio-Temporal Modeling of the Urban Heat Island in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area: Land Use Change Implications
    Wang et. al 2016

  11. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 17, 2018 3:26 pm

    I’ve just found that the Variable Pitch web-site has been closed, seemingly litigation threats.
    It was a clear demonstration of the poor performance of most “Renewable” generators, so I guess that they would close it at first chance.
    Does anyone know of other easy sources for the power station performance data that this site provided so well?

  12. John189 permalink
    July 17, 2018 4:30 pm

    Am I alone in thinking that the folksy tone of the BBC article with its attempt to extrapolate generality from individual specifics is identical to the style of the Guardian? As others have pointed out, the problem is not so much the risible bilge that is published, but the fact that there are journalists and commentaters waiting and willing to lap it up.

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