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Met Office’s Hottest Summer Claims Disproved By CET

September 5, 2018


By Paul Homewood


The Met Office has now officially declared this summer as the joint hottest on record in the UK:



Update: Having further assessed the temperature data for the UK as a whole for summer 2018 the figures are so close that we are declaring it as the joint hottest on record together with 2006, 2003 and 1976.


They also confirm that it was the hottest in England, with a mean temperature of 17.16C, versus 17.01C in 1976.

As I pointed out a few days ago, this all seems very strange, because the CET only ranks this summer as 5th warmest, 0.50C less than in 1976, and not even as hot as 1826:


CET Average Mean Temperatures


Of course, Central England is not the UK, nor even England. Nevertheless, as Scotland, Wales, N Ireland and the north of England were nowhere near record temperatures, there appeared to be something seriously wrong with the Met Office’s figures.

Now that the Met Office has published its data for August, I have concrete evidence of this.

As well as the national numbers, the Met Office also publish temperature data for the districts. One of these is the Midlands, which closely matches the area defined in the CET:

Shows the standard areas (districts) used by the Met Office when generating climatologies.


Just as in the national numbers for England, the Met Office say that this summer was the hottest on record, 17.27C against 17.05C for 1976.

In other words, an even bigger margin than in England as a whole:




To recap, the CET puts 1976 as 0.50C warmer, but the Met Office say this summer was 0.22C hotter. A discrepancy of 0.72C.

It is utterly inconceivable that the two methods could legitimately come up with such a big difference. There has to be something seriously wrong with one or the other. [BTW- it has nothing to do with UHI adjustments, as the CET adjusts all temperatures since 1974 by 0.2C, to allow for UHI – in other words, 1976 and 2018 have been treated in the same way]

And the discrepancy is also well outside any statistical margin of error – the CET give this as between 0.09C and 0.2C. The Met Office don’t give official margins of error, but suggest it is well below 0.1C.

We know that an enormous amount of work has gone into building up, checking, analysing and homogenising the CET series over the years, which rightfully has earned it a worldwide reputation.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the Met Office’s UK dataset beginning in 1910. For instance, it includes all sorts of inappropriate sites, such as Heathrow, a car park in Motherwell, many urban locations, and Faversham, which regularly records the highest temperatures ( as it did again this summer) but has only been operational since 1998 and has been condemned as unreliable.

[The Met Office confirmed to me the locations they use, and they can be seen here]

There also appears to be little transparency as to how the Met Office build up their UK dataset. How, for instance, do they allow for changing mix of stations? Or allow for UHI? Or cater for missing stations?


At the moment, the credibility of their UK dataset is totally shredded. The Met Office should immediately withdraw all claims about “hottest summers”, and explain why the two datasets diverge so wildly.

  1. Chris, Leeds permalink
    September 5, 2018 7:00 pm

    Something really doesn’t ‘smell right’ about the Met Office figures. I know one’s recollection can be hazy, but I have to say that I simply do not feel the summer we have had this year, particularly the rather ‘average’ August, compares at all with 1976. It would probably repay looking at the actual data, but if you take the ‘great heatwave’ of June-July 1976 it was several degrees warmer than the equivalent ‘great heatwave’ of June-July 2018. In the ‘great heatwave’ of 1976 England had, I think, 16 consecutive days of 30C recorded somewhere and 15 consecutive days of more than 32C. Top temperatures were above 35C on about 3 days or more. That record certainly wasn’t close to being broken this year. Although the second half of July and August 1976 were cooler, I would still wager that July 1976 was close to July 2018 and August 1976 simply must have been warmer than 2018…. If I have some time I might try and directly compare daily data for a few key stations and see what was ACTUALLY recorded in 1976 and compare to 2018.

    • Ian Magness permalink
      September 5, 2018 8:24 pm

      I’m going to reinforce your gut feel about August 1976. At that time I was a teenager but played cricket (in the South East) at least three days a week. I vividly remember the straw coloured cricket grounds, plagues of ladybirds and water shortages which affected your washroom and kitchen activities. It was hot! I also don’t recall any rain to compare with what we had in 2018. Yes, it rained a lot – but in September.
      As soon as these Met Office figures starting emerging, my gut feel was – yes, the 1976 heatwaves started a week or two later but they lasted throughout August, whereas 2018 heatwaves stopped by the last couple of days in July. Averaging the three month summer periods out, therefore, I am amazed to find that 2018 compares closely to 1976. At least in terms of my life in the South East, I just do not believe it Victor.

      • Chris Martin permalink
        September 5, 2018 10:47 pm

        Ian, I absolutely agree. Sounds we are of the same vintage. August 1976 was exceptionally dry and with consistent sun and hot days through the month right until the last weekend, when the weather broke, for some, with rain on the bank holiday weekend. This August simply has not matched this.

      • The Informed Consumer permalink
        September 5, 2018 11:30 pm

        The only time in my police service I wore shirt sleeves on a night shift was in 1976, the year I joined the job. Heady days of wine wimmen and song, God I miss them! 🙂

        Moving on; I noticed from the BBC report yesterday that England had the highest temperatures EVAH recorded for a summer by some 0.1C.

        Include the rest of the UK however, and the figures drop below the highest EVAH.

        But as London is the centre of the UK universe, I guess the numbers mean that regional variations drive global statistics when it suits the BBC global alarmists…….as long as they are high!

  2. Joe Public permalink
    September 5, 2018 7:11 pm

    The greater the number of smaller regions, the greater the chance of a ‘record’ for something or some period being broken somewhere.

  3. Mark Hodgson permalink
    September 5, 2018 7:51 pm


    This is also being discussed at cliscep:

    You’re not alone in thinking that there’s something not right about it.

  4. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 5, 2018 7:54 pm

    Interesting to note that the adjustment for UHI effect is 0.2 deg K. This must be some sort of estimated effect as when travelling in various towns in the UK and near motorways the change of temperature indicated varies from 1 to 2 deg K during the day, a bit less at night: it is also dependent upon the cloud cover. Thus, the claims at accuracy are clearly more like + / – 1 deg K. Basically town data should be treated totally separately from rural values, which more closely represent the climate not fiddled by an estimated amount.

    A small number of accurate results are worth millions of fudged numbers.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 6, 2018 1:32 pm

      I see a difference of FIVE degrees when driving out of the suburbs to my country house. I even saw a difference in winter of 4 degrees going from the shopping & factory estates at Gatwick to my house. The countryside is far bigger than towns and cities so is the real temperature.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 5, 2018 7:58 pm

    If the CET were ‘more correctly’ adjusted for UHI it would make the difference even worse I suspect.

    Having regularly watched the hottest places list on various live feed weather info. sites, the top 20 this summer were nearly always all airports and bases, with the occasional usual suspect (Faversham, Broadness etc.) thrown in. A lack of UHI adjustment and all these ever expanding concrete and tarmac solar collection storage heaters, and is it any surprise?

    My subjective opinion was that the most extreme heat should have actually showed up in E.Anglia and the far SE Corner.

    The Met.Office results seem very unsatisfactory.

    One oddity I have noticed, there is a long standing site Shoreham Airport – probably fairly unchanged by development and mostly grass – so it doesn’t overheat like most. Some time ago another Shoreham station (that appears to be in the town and usually gives significantly warmer temperatures esp. at night) provides the data for ‘last 24hrs’. My own readings always compared well to the Airport, but now they are usually nothing like the new Shoreham data. Depending on what they are using/doing, that is at least one potential warming bias introduced.

    Who knows what else is going on?

    • Jon Scott permalink
      September 5, 2018 8:22 pm

      And the PosterChild Faversham site…. I found a foto with a concrete road right next to it….. can anyone confirm this as being correct?

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        September 5, 2018 9:28 pm

        It’s aka Brogdale, they have 2, the official MO station, and a ‘visitor attraction’.

        Yes, there appears to be concrete/path very close to what appears to be the MO one on the pictures that come up on Google.

        It’s been investigated by various blogs before, I think the main concern was the proximity of a big hedge.

    • dennisambler permalink
      September 6, 2018 9:16 am

      Agree.0.2 C is pitiful as a UH adjustment. This was one of Phil Jones’ decrees I think.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 6, 2018 1:35 pm

      I was at the football ground on Tuesday night and it was warm and pleasant – and we won! I didn’t think to watch the car thermometer on the way home.

  6. Jon Scott permalink
    September 5, 2018 8:21 pm

    Something stinks in the house of Met Office!

    Personally I would be really happy if during this INTERGLACIAL we achieve hotter and hotter weather in this country so often dealing with misery masquerading as weather. Notice the climate zealots….like with the word “denier” are clever…. AGM is assumed in there double speak but never mentioned. A tainted organization. I am not sure if she is still in charge but the head of the Met office (political commissar) during the flooding of the Cambridge Levels was interviewed on Sky saying “Sea Level is rising all around the UK”. My profoundly deaf mother told me to keep my voice down when I expressed my doubts about her scientific credibility “sotto voce”.

  7. Ben Vorlich permalink
    September 5, 2018 8:24 pm

    Like many others my first reaction was “I don’t believe it”. My memory is of a warm autumn and winter 1975/6 with a warm spring. Summer is June/July/August in 1976 all this 3 month period was warmer than usual and August was particularly warm. The weather broke a few days after Dennis Howell’s appointment as minister for drought at the end of August.

    This year by contrast spring was cold and long although there was an extremely hot spell it ended in early August after which things returned to normal conditions. So normal winter and spring two hot months and normal August.

    Finally I think it is still the case that the two warm periods in August have never been equalled before or since.

  8. September 5, 2018 8:48 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Hmm 🤔

  9. Richard Woollaston permalink
    September 5, 2018 8:54 pm

    Is the CET record also maintained by the Met Office? If not, by whom?

  10. September 5, 2018 9:00 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. dave permalink
    September 5, 2018 9:12 pm

    “…we are declaring it…”

    Pompous asses.

  12. September 5, 2018 9:39 pm

    I bet the Met Office eventually admits a mistake and quietly makes a correction, which is not covered by any of the MSM. Any takers?

  13. Up2snuff permalink
    September 5, 2018 9:46 pm

    I think it all depends on where you are. That is why the value of the CET is really only in its consistency over time. To pin a national record on it is a bit silly.

    2017 was a really good summer in the south east if you were away from the East Coast (Folkestone/Dover area) but without many overwhelmingly hot and/or humid days. About two or three, if my memory serves me well. Other parts of the country fared nothing like as well, especially in the west and north. If I recall correctly Devon or Cornwall and possibly a Scottish county or two, recorded a frost on at least one night in every month of the year.

    2018 was different. The drought started mid-April but the weather was dull, with high overcast. Days of sunshine did not get going until into May and were near enough continuous until the end of August with that very wet, storm weekend in the middle of the month. The energy sapping days for those not liking heat were plentiful but the very unpleasantly humid ones still came out at around three, maybe four.

    I’m glad the whole of the UK got a share of the sunshine this year. Make the most of it, some (not me) are predicting a bad winter.

  14. Julian Tytherleigh permalink
    September 6, 2018 1:12 am

    Heathrow airport weather station has tarmac, no trees and heated air from aircraft landing every few minutes….and yet the Met Office allows this data to represent evidence of rising temperatures…year in, year out!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 6, 2018 1:37 pm

      It used to be just fields until after the war.

  15. September 6, 2018 2:24 am

    The CET also shows that the warming is seen mostly in the winter and least of all in summer.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      September 6, 2018 9:31 pm

      This observation is consistent with the fact that the UHI effect is much larger at night and is larger in winter. The difficulty is to find how many of the measured values reported were urban and how many rural. What seems certain is that the UHI has been greatly underestimated in the “adjustments” used by NAOO and others: the defence of the adjustments, when they were questioned was led by Gavin Schmidt and Phil Jones which proves that they are incorrect!

  16. JCJ permalink
    September 6, 2018 4:07 am

    To recap, the CET puts 1976 as 0.50C warmer, but the Met Office say this summer was 0.22C hotter. A discrepancy of 0.72C.

    You are falling into the trap. Who actually cares that it was some tenths of a degree hotter or colder this summer?

    I enjoyed this summer as a nice change from the miserable, cold, rain sodden, summers we are used to. These people want them back!

  17. Tom Dowter permalink
    September 6, 2018 5:46 am

    According to Paul’s earlier posting on this subject on Sept 1, the “CET is very carefully homogenised and relies on three high quality stations, Rothamsted, Pershore and Stonyhurst”. Taking this at face value, one might legitimately ask how representative the CET series is of Central England which the Met Office describes as: “a roughly triangular area of the United Kingdom enclosed by Lancashire, London and Bristol”.

    One way of addressing this question is to ask how well the three stations involved can predict what each others’ values might be using, for example, a linear regression. I have now compared predictions of Rothamstead from Stonyhurst and Stonyhurst from Rothamstead using the GHCN database both adjusted and unadjusted.

    The average RMS error for Rothamstead is 0.55 degrees for the unadjusted series and 0.52 for the adjusted one. The maximum RMS errors are 0.71 and 0.62. Turning to predictions for Stonyhurst, the corresponding figures are 0.57, 0.56, 0.79 and 0.69. This gives me very little confidence in the representative nature of the CET series especially when looking at extremes of temperature.

    • dave permalink
      September 6, 2018 8:04 am

      The Meteorological Office can be honest – in obscure places:

      Click to access ParkerHorton_CET_IJOC_2005.pdf


      “The daily uncertainties can be used to illustrate how confident we can be that a record has been broken. For example, the warmest CET(max) occurred on 16 April, 2003 and exceeded the previous warmest April CET(max) in April 1893 by 1.3 C after the adjustments applied in Section 6. However, …the difference is not significant.”

      Beating a record by 1.3 C is meaningless!

    • September 6, 2018 3:14 pm

      I’m sure the Hadley Centre would not agree!!

  18. Stonyground permalink
    September 6, 2018 7:03 am

    My thought on this is that it doesn’t really matter whether 1976 or 2018 had the hottest summer. The fact that hairs are having to be split over the matter is the important part. We supposedly have a serious problem with runaway warming and yet we are struggling to distinguish between two summer’s that were forty two years apart.

    • September 6, 2018 7:44 am

      You must understand the Met Office Media Dept problem. The computer failed to forecast the Spring cold snap and the barbeque Summer. They have been forced to generate some weather records instead.

  19. September 6, 2018 7:19 am

    It was a very hot year whether it was a record breaker by fractions of a degree is frankly irrelevant and a distraction.

  20. Stonyground permalink
    September 6, 2018 7:50 am

    I’m just popping back to mention that the misplaced apostrophe in my post was put there by bloody auto correct and that I do in fact know the difference between a plural and a possessive.

  21. September 6, 2018 7:59 am

    We were living in rural Cornwall in 1976. We’d given a plot of our land to the Woodland Trust and they had planted trees on it the previous year. The lot died in 1976 due to the heat and lack of rain (they planted another lot in 1977 and they are still there, writ large).

  22. tom0mason permalink
    September 6, 2018 8:12 am

    I well remember the summer of 1976, and for those of you that don’t know that much about it, here’s a reminder from the BBC…
    1976 — real scorcher, a widespread drought, roads melting, electricity outages, no water and many sewer systems that failed.

    So the Met Office are ‘fixing’ this years temperatures. Next up the Met Office will be waffling about why there will not be snow this winter. Or maybe that there will be lots of frost and snow this year (and still because of atmospheric CO2 is at 0.004% by volume) but the Met Office can not tell — they’re too inept.
    Yes according to their theory winters are supposed to get warmer, from 2014

    “The UK is expected to see more milder, wetter winters and more hotter, drier summers in the future,” the Met Office said in a report.
    “By the 2040s more than half of summers in Europe will be warmer than 2003, and by the end of this century 2003 would be classed as a cold summer relative to the new climate.”

    Fat chance for a warmer winter. Let’s see for ourselves how fast this summer’s warmth dissipates as winter frozen claw grips. IMO it will snow this 2018-2019 winter in the UK, and the 2020 winter will be even colder!

    The Met Office is just a political advocacy outfit that voices utter nonsense, propaganda, and cAGW advocacy. Why is the public still paying for this expensive Met Office when their weather forecasting ability is no better, and often worse, than weather forecasting amateurs like Gavin at ? (Not that I agree with his latest, and first, winter forecast.)

    • dennisambler permalink
      September 6, 2018 9:25 am

      Sorry Tomo, shouldn’t that be 0.04% CO2, 400 ppm. Not that it makes any difference to climate anyway.

      • tom0mason permalink
        September 7, 2018 6:57 am

        Yes dennisambler,
        Oops, my error and poor poof-reading.
        I must do better! 🙂

  23. paul weldon permalink
    September 6, 2018 8:29 am

    I would agree that the met office claim seems dubious but have doubts as to whether the CET can be used to compare. For example, sea temperatures are going to have a coastal effect and these need to be taken into consideration. I have no idea whether they are warmer this year than in 1976 but they will have an influence. The further one goes inland the less effect this will have, and this is where the CET is measured. I would also consider where the high pressure areas were centred, and which direction they have brought the air from. It may be that this year was hotter, but that does not necessarily mean that it is because of climate change. The met office have also apparently not taken these factors into consideration. Whist on the subject, I would also ask why the met office does not openly publish daily readings for the weather stations, as they are often citing themselves as world leaders. Here in lowly Latvia at least one can easily access original data from all of the official stations. I guess they only like people to access what they wish to put out, hence another claim to their political bias.

    • September 6, 2018 10:29 am

      Agreed Paul.

      But the CET should be comaparable with the Midland region, which is effectively identical coverage

      • paul weldon permalink
        September 7, 2018 8:19 am

        Yes, Paul. There should be similar temperatures. It is hard to fathom out why the two data sets are so different. Looking a little closer at the monthly temperatures given, the following can also be said: It was only July where the 2018 temperatures were higher than 1976. July 2018 was also not the hottest July ever – that was in 2006. Not exactly something to get alarmed about? As most of the rise in global temperatures took place in the 1980s, I would have expected much more in the way of frequent record high summer temperatures. A sign of the continued hiatus?

  24. Green Sand permalink
    September 6, 2018 8:50 am

    Claire Perry has writ a propaganda piece in the Torygraph, still peddling the ‘falling by 50%’ nonsense,:-

    ‘The Walney Extension means big business and bigger opportunity for the UK’

    “……Today renewables provide almost one third of our electricity, with wind accounting for half of that and prices falling by more than 50pc in only a few years. This is enabling us to get much more clean energy for less while ensuring consumers get a fair deal…….”

  25. Dave Ward permalink
    September 6, 2018 10:11 am

    In the Climate Scepticism post mentioned by Mark Hodgson, Clive Best linked to the Met Office “Climate Network” in one of his comments:

    The page notes include the following:

    “All climate stations record daily maximum and minimum air temperature and rainfall amount, recorded over the period 0900-0900 period (1000-1000 in summer).

    Many observe additional elements. The representativity of urban observations to the surrounding urban area can be difficult to judge, and so their data need to be used with caution. Some observations in urban areas are made on roof tops”

    It’s hard to have any confidence in the Met Office when they make admissions like that…

  26. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 6, 2018 11:06 am

    This is arguing angels and pin-heads. Let the Met Office explain why we haven’t beaten a 42 year old record despite all the warming we have supposedly had and all the additional CO2.

    “England” is an arbitrary area for this anyway, so this is an arbitrary record.

  27. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 6, 2018 11:07 am

    Have now started to look into the UHI. As discussed by a few of us above, this adjustment seems very dubious. Even a global warming support unit states that the effect is typically over 1.2 deg K and is very variable.
    Estimation of the urban heat island for UK climate change projections; T Kershaw,,M Sandersonb, D. Coley and M Eamesa ; Centre for Energy and the Environment, University of Exeter, Stocker Road Exeter, EX4 4QL, UK; Met Office Hadley Centre, Fitzroy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK. Published in The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers 2010; 10;1177/0143624410365033.

    I believe that the use of adjusted data immediately negates accuracy when the adjustment is not physically rigorous, as with all the homogenised temperatures so widely used to support the global warming hypothesis.
    The urban and rural data ought to be treated as separate sets of data, as it is interesting to know how hot the towns get and also how cold the countryside is really compared with the temperatures experienced by southern softies.

  28. ThinkingScientist permalink
    September 6, 2018 1:12 pm

    If you watch the weather forecasters on the BBC, particularly for night time lows in winter, they regularly refer to rural temps being 3 – 4 deg colder than the temps shown and discussed on the chart. They are never overly specific about the temp difference, but its always several degrees. If the daytime average is the mean of the min and max, UHI of 0.2 degC is certainly not going to cut it in winter.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      September 6, 2018 1:47 pm

      I would say it was more like 4-5 degrees in reality.

  29. Chris, Leeds permalink
    September 6, 2018 2:26 pm

    I have just done a cheap and cheerful comparison of 1976 and 2018 summers for Birmingham Airport (Elmdon), looking at maximum temperatures only. I did a quick check of the data in the Daily Weather Report for 1976 and the information on weather for the daily maxima in 2018. My very quick calculation is the mean maximum temperature for summer 1976 at Birmingham Airport was approx 22.2C, but for 1976 it was approx 23.6C.
    Looking at days that reached certain thresholds:
    Days with max >or= to 20C – 68 days in 2018, 75 in 1976
    Days with max >or= to 25C – 32 days in 2018, 38 in 1976
    Days with max >or= to 30C – 1 day in 2018, 11 in 1976
    My calculations are quick and they are only for daytime maxima and only for one station (albeit in the heart of England), but a Brummie might be justified in saying that his or her experience of summer 2018 was simply not in the same league as 1976. Makes it more puzzling why the Met Office is indicating otherwise. Is my maths wrong? or there’s?

    • Chris, Leeds permalink
      September 6, 2018 2:29 pm

      The mean max temperature for Birmingham Airport for summer 2018 should have read as ‘22.7’ not 22.2 – a typo… but this compares with 23.6 for 1976 -still a big difference?

  30. September 6, 2018 3:40 pm

    Like others, I am not convinced that an adjustment of 0.2c for the UHI is sufficient.
    Even if it was sufficient in 1974, it should probably be continually increased, as urbanisation increases.

  31. Paul permalink
    September 8, 2018 10:19 am

    Isn’t it a fact that a number of the monitoring weather stations were closed in the colder areas of the world so the average world temperature would appear to rise.

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