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Yes it’s scorching, but claims that the heatwave is down to climate change are just hot air: June was even hotter when Victoria was on the throne, writes CHRISTOPHER BOOKER

July 26, 2018

By Paul Homewood


Booker on the heatwave:



There is at least one thing about this summer of 2018 on which we can all agree: the past months have unquestionably been swelteringly, abnormally hot.

And not just here in Britain, but in many other countries right across the northern hemisphere.

In the UK, our own heatwave began in May and has continued relentlessly ever since. In Japan, where one city claimed the highest temperature ever recorded in that country, topping 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Centigrade), the heatwave has been declared ‘a natural disaster’.

Meanwhile, wildfires in Greece have killed at least 80 people, leading to claims that this has been the worst disaster of its kind seen in Europe since World War II.

There have been numerous other claims of temperature records being broken, all the way from California to Armenia and Azerbaijan (although here in Britain we have not so far seen anything to equal the 101.3f — 38.5c — that was recorded near Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003).

But more sober experts have raised question marks over the reliability of these temperature measurements, because of the siting of the thermometers which recorded them.

In every case, it turned out, they broke the golden rule that such thermometers must not be placed near heat-retaining structures or surfaces, such as in the centre of large cities, near airport runways or on Tarmac car parks.

This is because their readings are then distorted by the so-called ‘urban heat island effect’, which can exaggerate temperatures by up to 2 degrees Celsius or more.

One comical example of this was on June 28, when the UK Met Office rushed to announce that the 91.7f (33.2c) reached at Motherwell made it the hottest temperature recorded in Scotland.

Only when it was pointed out that its thermometer was in the middle of a Tarmac car park did the Met Office hastily withdraw its claim, with the rather sad explanation that the reading had been distorted by a ‘car left nearby with its engine running’.

But all these excitable little mishaps notwithstanding, it has certainly been abnormally hot. Above all, this raises the question: how unprecedented has this summer’s heat really been? And, secondly, how long was it going to be before certain climate scientists came round to telling us that this was unquestionably proof the world is in the grip of man-made global warming?

At last this week they have come in on cue, with Peter Stott, head of climate change predictions at the Met Office, and Rowan Sutton, head of atmospheric science at Reading University, both making that point loud and clear.

As Professor Sutton told us on yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme, thanks to climate change we can expect summers like this one to become more frequent. And even if we curb our carbon dioxide emissions in accord with the famous Paris climate agreement of 2015, this will continue for decades to come.

Perhaps it is time, therefore, to start looking at some proper historical evidence in order to gain a more balanced perspective on what is really going on.

For a start, here in the UK we have the longest-running set of temperature data in the world, the Central England Temperature Record (CET), which goes back to 1659. And this shows that June of this year was only the 18th warmest June in more than 350 years — the hottest being as long ago as 1846.

So this kind of summer heat is far from unprecedented. In fact, as people have begun to observe, the nearest parallel to what has been happening this year was the celebrated ‘drought summer’ of 1976.

That was the year when, as older folk vividly recall, the heatwave lasted virtually unbroken for three months, until rain finally came at the end of August. And, according to the CET, those daily temperatures 42 years ago frequently beat this summer’s figures hands down.

But there is another striking parallel between this year and 1976 — as there also is with that other heatwave summer of 2003 when the highest single temperature ever recorded in Britain was set.

In each case the cause of the prolonged heat has been a large area of high pressure that has sucked in hot air from the Sahara (when my next-door neighbour returned to Heathrow this week, she found her car covered in this desert sand).

This in turn has been caused and prolonged by a movement of the jet stream (which dictates much of the northern hemisphere’s weather conditions) because of cooler ocean temperatures in the Atlantic. This movement has kept lower-pressure weather formations containing moister and cooler air parked further out in the Atlantic to the north-west of Britain and Europe.


Although the causes of this cooler Atlantic are an entirely natural cyclical shift, the global warming-obsessed Met Office became so excited by that heatwave in 2003 that the following year it produced a report based on computer models, called Uncertainty, Risk And Climate Change.

This predicted that baking summers would soon be so frequent that by 2040 more than half of Europe’s summers would be hotter than 2003.

But the same 2004 report predicted that by 2014, global temperatures would have risen by 0.3c. In fact, during those ten years, temperatures recorded by weather satellites did not rise at all. Neither, until the past few weeks, have we seen a single summer to compete with the sweltering 2003.

We need to recall such facts, if only to remind ourselves that there are those so convinced of their particular theory of how climate works that they will leap on any evidence which seems to confirm that they and their computer models are correct.

Although there have recently been claims in the U.S. that America is getting hotter than ever before, more than half the temperature records for the 50 U.S. states were set in the baking ‘dustbowl years’ of the Thirties. Another 13 state records are even older. Indeed, only two state records were set in the 21st century, at a time when — we are constantly told — increases in industrial emissions are causing dangerous warming of the planet.


On yesterday’s Today programme, Professor Sutton of Reading University and his BBC interviewer agreed on how important it is that the world should follow the Paris climate agreement by making very drastic reductions in its emissions of CO2.

What neither of them seemed to realise was that the much-touted Paris Accord was no more than a wholly non-binding Western wish list. Even at the time, the rest of the world — led by China and India, respectively the world’s largest and third-largest CO2 emitters — made no secret of the fact that it had no intention of reducing its CO2 emissions.

In fact, buried away in the small print of the documents every country had to supply before Paris, it was clear the rest of the world would continue to build coal-fired power stations. China planned by 2030 to double its emissions and India to treble them, to keep their economies growing.

Despite all pretences to the contrary, Paris was little more than an empty charade. But the good news is that this may well have not the slightest effect on the world’s climate.

We shall continue to have abnormally hot summers from time to time, just as we did in 1976 and 1846, way back before global warming was invented. Meanwhile, we can only keep praying for rain.

  1. July 26, 2018 10:14 am

    Harrabin keeps the propaganda going at the BBC:

    • HotScot permalink
      July 26, 2018 12:18 pm


      The next couple of winters will be interesting to watch. As I recall, not too long after the 1976 summer heatwave we has the winter from hell, certainly in the West of Scotland. Having not done more than clear the windscreen of my car for 3 or 4 days, I had to chip solid ice over an inch thick off the bodywork.

      Snow ploughing and gritting was second to none in my area, but they eventually had to abandon it as the packed snow was wrecking the ploughs and the gritting did nothing but create discoloured slush that froze solid. I was sent to help the crew of a snow plough that was stuck, the drifts were so high I could only get to within several hundred yards of it. Fortunately for the crew, another snow plough followed in their tracks of the first and rescued the guys.

      This was all only 8 miles outside Glasgow city centre.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        July 26, 2018 12:57 pm

        1981/2, HotScot.

        ‘81 was the year my aunt died and my daughter and I had to leave a New Year’s Eve party just outside Edinburgh and drive 100 miles south because the idiot letting agent had “forgotten” to turn the water off in the empty house!
        There was just enough of a thaw that afternoon …

        By back-to-work day it had closed in again and it was chaos for weeks. I remember it all too well!

        This is certainly hot but our record since we moved here has been 36.8 and I don’t see much sign of that being broken this week. Some rain would be nice!

  2. BLACK PEARL permalink
    July 26, 2018 10:16 am

    Both Sky and BBC going berserk with this crap
    One good summer and we are all doomed in the future ‘say the experts’
    Experts at what ?
    No explanation / detail of whats causing the fine weather to inform the public, its ‘Climate Change’ and its our and the Govts fault for not preventing it. full stop
    Cue anti fraking spokes person & fossil fuel & lets build more wind machines.

    To quote an old one
    ‘Beam me up Scotty’

    Non of the MSM is fit for purpose and guilty of misinformation.

  3. July 26, 2018 10:17 am

    “until rain finally came at the end of August”… After Denis Howell was appointed Minister for Drought and sorted it!

    A story from 2008 about heavy rain:

    “As luck or design would have it, Mr Howell succeeded in getting the heavens to open within a few days of his appointment. And, as the heavy rainfall continued, he soon became known as the Minister for Floods.

    The future Lord Howell, who also served the Government as the Minister of Sport, modestly greeted his new-found success as Mr Rainmaker with the comment: “It’s just a knack I have.””

  4. July 26, 2018 10:18 am

    The cold winter has of course been conveniently forgotten. Here in the Costa del Sol, it is a pleasant 25 Celsius and as for the 340 cloud free days per annum, we had more than 25 cloudy days in the first 4 months of the year. We also had snow on the summit of La Concha, this year and last year.Of course the Met Office want to continue their deception, funny how they have not mentioned the equally Left leaning BBC for cancelling their contract with them for repeated inaccuracy of their forecasts?

  5. July 26, 2018 11:04 am

    Still, climate has been around far, far longer, than the time since Victoria ruled …

  6. July 26, 2018 11:30 am

    We have hotter summers, we have cooler summers, we have wetter summers and we have drier summers. The same holds true for winter. The important lesson is that due to progress we able to deal with the consequences of weather in effective ways. UNTIL the elitist environmentalists/anti-capitalists began their incessant hand-wringing, we were humming right along.

    Now that we have identified the source of the problem as the environmental/anti-capital elitists, let us proceed to remove them from our hearing and reading. Perhaps they should take their lead from the dust bowl scenario to just “dry up and blow away.”

  7. Broadlands permalink
    July 26, 2018 11:53 am

    “Despite all pretences to the contrary, Paris was little more than an empty charade. But the good news is that this may well have not the slightest effect on the world’s climate.”

    If the world is successful (in several hundred years) of lowering CO2 back to 350 ppm…a NASA-inspired goal, we will have done nothing but return the globe to the weather and climate of 1987. Hardly seems worth all the trouble and expense for such a slight effect.

  8. Tim Spence permalink
    July 26, 2018 11:58 am

    Here in Spain it’s the coldest July in 20 years (so far). The European section of the weather forecast shows cold air moving into western Britain today.

  9. tom0mason permalink
    July 26, 2018 12:28 pm

    It may be instructive to note that during the LIA, in 1666 the Great Fire Of London occurred after months of heat and drought. That didn’t stop the Thames freezing in December 1666.


    1665/1666 (November to September)
    Every month from November 1665 to September 1666 was dry. By August, 1666, the River Thames at Oxford was reduced to a ‘trickle’. This drought was a large contributory factor in the ‘Great Fire of London’ (q.v.), bearing in mind that many houses in London had a high proportion of timber in them – and presumably old timbers too. [A rainy spell started just after the Fire … 9th by the old calendar, and there was prolonged / heavy rain for 10 days early in October 1666.]
    The dryness extended to Scotland, at least from May to mid-July.
    Perhaps confirming an ‘anticyclonic’ bias to the broadscale type, The River Thames was frozen over in London by mid-December 1665 & blocked by ice by the end of the month.

    2nd December: Severe frost in London 2nd to 7th.
    21st December: Severe frost set in again, the Thames blocked by ice in London by 30th. The plague much reduced, but flared up again in the mild weather after 6th to 10th January 1666. A mild January followed.

    Just weather events…. that’s what keeps the cAGW advocates blathering on.

    • July 26, 2018 1:44 pm

      Similarly, this heatwave was preceded by the “Beast from the East”, both due to blocking High pressure negating the moderating influence of the Atlantic ocean.

  10. Green Sand permalink
    July 26, 2018 1:09 pm

    Paul, enjoyed your letter in today’s Torygraph! Well done as always, many thanks for your efforts! It went well with the one below it:-

    “SIR – Anne Whalley (Letters, July 24) asks how her smart meter can save her money.

    I have a smart meter. Whenever I boil a kettle to make a cup of coffee, the indicator tells me what a huge amount of electricity I am using to do so. When I open a bottle of wine, it doesn’t move at all.

    Paul Penrose
    Ruan Minor, Cornwall”

  11. A C Osborn permalink
    July 26, 2018 1:10 pm

    Tallbloke has a neat roundup graphic that was actually shown by the BBC which shows that the current heat wave is not that unusual.
    From the BBC mind, someone is likely to get the sack for that.

  12. saparonia permalink
    July 26, 2018 1:20 pm

    Storms still everywhere in Europe and US, creeping towards UK now due to Low Pressure moving in wait for the media panic. This is no different from everywhere else. These storms have been raging since the planets all congregated on our side of the Sun

  13. saparonia permalink
    July 26, 2018 1:50 pm

    Again, no mention of Pressure or Fronts on the MET office forecast

  14. Pat permalink
    July 26, 2018 2:17 pm

    And in 1976 we were being told to fear the coming ice age.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 26, 2018 3:01 pm

      Ah the coming ice age climate consensus, aka the ‘Kim Jong-Un uncle’ of climate science.

      ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’

  15. christopher booker permalink
    July 27, 2018 10:47 am

    Paul, I’m sorry I s=didn;t get round to noting here before that virtually all the facts in my Daily Mail article above were originally derived from your various posts in recent weeks and as always I am indebted to you for the uniquely valuable service you are providing for us all., The Mail asked mo to write the article because they had picked up on several items I had published in my Sunday Telegraph column, in each of which I managed to squeeze in thanks to your blog as the original source of the data,

    • Athelstan permalink
      July 27, 2018 11:44 am

      Not everyone true, any thinking man or woman might have already deduced said PH ‘ghost’, input in your recent DM piece, Mr. CB.

      I did find it wryly, indeed greatly amusing that, yesterday in a banner headline, the DT led with a tale put about by Creagh’s lot (grandly calling themselves ‘The Commons environmental audit committee), pertaining to some mythical beast entitled ‘ Britain at the mercy of deadly heatwaves’, alas shocked we all were!
      Imagination at play, the ‘reasoning’ that ‘we’ will become more likely to witness hot weather “than before” – whenever that was…..Eemian warming, the Permian perhaps?

      Aye, It must be said, those who suffer from certain conditions, hot weather makes for uncomfortable liiving for some. Anticyclonic conditions, descending air, a drift off the near continent into Britain makes for poor air quality, Saharan micaceous, silica dust pollen too and particulates suspended (maybe) for longer or not dissipated, blown away by the prevailing wind pattern.

      Ah – “usual wind patterns” but then, in a dynamic and very chaotic atmospherical system, you tend to expect the unexpected. It’s only weather and we must attend to the vulnerable so that their conditions can be ameliorated as best we can, we need more electricity and Aircon, would greatly help this – er but the problem with that…………………………..”more electricity”

  16. saparonia permalink
    July 27, 2018 12:29 pm

    Compare the actual weather over Ireland on live Friday 27th July with the *Imaginary* weather over Ireland on the Met Office video for Friday 27th July

    The thunder we had in South Yorkshire this morning was short and sweet with very little rain, less than I put on it with the hose last night.

    • Athelstan permalink
      July 27, 2018 5:41 pm

      A bit further north than you but the same story here, quite a lot of atmospheric ‘fireworks’ and booms but not much of the wet stuff.

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