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UK Climate Trends – 2018

January 4, 2019

By Paul Homewood

 UK Mean temperature - Annual


The Met Office has now published its data for 2018. We can expect plenty of claims about last year being the 7th warmest in the UK since records began (in 1910). Or that all of the ten warmest years have occurred this century.

The real significance of these latest numbers, however, is that they continue to confirm that UK temperatures stopped rising more than a decade ago, after a step up during the 1990s.

As the 10-year averages below indicate, UK temperatures have been stable for some time, and arguably are now beginning to drop back:




The current 10-year average of 9.18C is back to where it was for 1996 to 2005. Significantly, it is also close to the 30-year average of 9.15C.

Of course, 10 years is far too short a period to be meaningful in terms of long term trends and projections. But exactly the same argument applies to that short burst of warming, which effectively began in 1989 and ended in 2006.

What we can say with confidence, however, is that that period of warming has now ended for the time being.

We can take a look at the seasonal figures too:

 UK Mean temperature - Winter

UK Mean temperature - Spring

UK Mean temperature - Summer

UK Mean temperature - Autumn


Some broad comments:

1) Winter, spring and autumn temperatures, which all exhibited the 1990s warming trend, have all levelled off in recent years, just as the annual ones have. In 2018, there was nothing unusual about any of them.

2) As we know, summer temperatures tied with 1976, 2003 and 2006. The real significance of this is that temperatures last year were no higher than those earlier years.

And as we can see from the 10-year average, summer temperatures have been flat for more than a decade.

It is also worth noting that the current 10-year average of 14.64C is only slightly higher than in the 1930s and 40s, when it peaked at 14.29C for the period of 1932-41.

Given the fact that the Met Office make no allowance for UHI, this tiny difference cannot be regarded as of any significance.





Finally, a quick look at precipitation data:


UK Rainfall - Annual

Rainfall was below the 1981-2010 average in 2018, though not significantly so. Indeed, this was the third year running that this was the case.


UK Rainfall - Winter

UK Rainfall - Spring

UK Rainfall - Summer

UK Rainfall - Autumn


Looking at the seasons, there appears to be little in the way of long term trends.

While recent winters tend to be slightly wetter than the mid 20thC, they are not significantly wetter than the early 20thC.

Equally, summers have not become either wetter or drier than earlier years, other than in comparison with the unusually dry period of the 1970s and 80s.



It should be apparent from both the temperature and rainfall datasets that British climate is changing much less than we are led to believe.

  1. Andrew permalink
    January 4, 2019 12:23 pm

    My grandchildren were born in 1998 and 2001 so they haven’t seen any noticeable change in our climate. They tend not to say much when I’m around but I’m sure they believe in the CO2 warming narrative because their teachers said so. I doubt that our education system is very good at teaching children to think independently; hopefully they will see sense eventually. Sites like this are invaluable.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      January 4, 2019 1:41 pm

      I was looking at events in 1950 this morning, in response tovthe question “what happened in the year you were born grandad?
      Apparently the UK tornado with the longest ground contact track happened in 1950. My grandchildrens indoctrination at school is only just starting.

  2. January 4, 2019 12:38 pm

    Another way to track changes in short term temperature trends is to construct a decadal (or longer) trend profile.

    • ellyssen permalink
      January 4, 2019 5:03 pm

      And not use ‘mean’ values, but averages as mean spikes do not weight the duration that averages do.

  3. The Man at the Back permalink
    January 4, 2019 12:56 pm

    No stone must be left unturned in the quest to see doom in the trends.

    I often think that meteorological graphs are like those pictures you get where you stair at the drawing of a flower and eventually you see the nude lady (or do I have to say person these days?)

    • Jules permalink
      January 4, 2019 8:05 pm

      Are you assuming the nude ladies gender 🙂

  4. Phoenix44 permalink
    January 4, 2019 1:05 pm

    I find seeing trends in data that is extremely variable to be a mug’s game. A couple of years of high or low variation and you get a “trend” but it is spurious.

    • michael hart permalink
      January 4, 2019 3:39 pm

      Yes. Charlatans and the deluded still try to do it all the time with stock market data, but the real professionals, and many others, know better.
      But when it comes to climate data many sensible people seem to lose their heads.

  5. January 4, 2019 1:36 pm

    It is all to do with the weather/climate perspective. Greenblobs cherry pick the weather and sceptics the climate and never the two shall meet.

  6. Gerry, England permalink
    January 4, 2019 1:49 pm

    In real climate science circles it is accepted that the Modern Warm Period ended in 2005. The Little Ice Age began shortly afterwards as evidenced by the changing of the jetstream pattern as the atmosphere shrank with the onset of the coming solar minimum. The heat that built up needs to vent which the recent large El Nino may be doing as it passes warmth from the oceans to the atmosphere and then radiated away. There is no reason a Little Ice Age has to start everywhere at the same time and there is a region – sorry exact location escapes me but I think it was around the Himalayas – that has had to change its agriculture since it has cooled there so much since 2008.

  7. CheshireRed permalink
    January 4, 2019 2:09 pm

    This rational assessment is unlikely to scare the bejesus out of the UK population so therefore must be considered most unwelcome.

  8. DWR54 permalink
    January 4, 2019 2:26 pm

    I make it 9th warmest, not 7th. May be due to rounding but would be surprised it makes such a big difference.

  9. Vernon E permalink
    January 4, 2019 2:55 pm

    Even so, none of this explains why we had the glorious long, hot, sunny summers that preceded about 1950 and led to the foundation of our wonderful resorts with their tens of thousands of deck chairs, open air swimming pools and sea bathing, piers, shows etc etc. I myself was born and raised in “Sunny Rhyl”.

    • dave permalink
      January 4, 2019 3:38 pm

      “…open air swimming pools…”

      During one particularly hot summer in the late 1930s, my newly-wed, and fairly broke, parents spent their week-ends at the new Mill Hill open air swimming pool. There also was Bertrand Russell. escaping every day from the heat in central London. They became good friends. I believe the only reference to the British climate was that it was a pity that the World was heading for war again, just as the climate was changing for the better!

  10. paul weldon permalink
    January 4, 2019 3:12 pm

    I notice the data Paul is using is from the UK national data set as opposed to the CET. If one uses the CET, the ‘pause’ exists since 1998 and rather than an upward trend since 2000, with the CET there is an equivalent downward trend. I am curious how accurate the statement is that the UK temperatures are unadjusted for UHI, I have an ongoing correspondence with the Met office regarding this fact, as well as other questions on their compilation of the UK data set, all which they are doing their best to avoid answering. The anomaly between Midland data and CET was 05C for most of the 20th century, and that has eroded to zero since the turn of the century. I at last have information as to when there have been station changes for the CET data as well as how the data has been adjusted for UHI. The met office are trying to tell me that the CET will be re-assessed this year as this is the cause of the erosion of the anomaly and are avoiding any suggestion that the CET is correct and that the UK data is wrong, even though my submission to them is clear that the CET data set show no correlation to the change in anomaly. Their latest ruse is to direct me to a data set which should give the information requested, only to be told that it is only accessible to ‘academics’. I will keep you all posted…

    • January 4, 2019 8:10 pm

      I believe that CET mean temperatures are too low from 2004, when there was a change in station composition. The late Philip Eden also had some issues with CET, which led him to create his own version. Here is my evidence for an “error” in CET, see the figure caption for a link to the source analysis:

      • paul weldon permalink
        January 5, 2019 1:22 pm

        Thanks for your comments. I have also noted the step but came to a different conclusion. If I had been made aware of the station change in 2004, I would have come to the same conclusion as you. But the met office informs me that the change came in November of that year, so would have made little if any difference. Any noticeable change would have come a year after – 2005. I am therefore awaiting information from them about the stations used for the midland data – which were used in what years and how they have adjusted for the changes, and UHI. It is that information that I need in order to complete my assessment.

  11. Ian permalink
    January 4, 2019 4:11 pm

    “UK temperatures stopped rising more than a decade ago, after a step up during the 1990s.”

    The same step exists in global temperature. Professors Salby and Harde have shown that, together with a similar step 20 years earlier, those brief intervals of warming are entirely responsible for the warmer temperatures that have existed since the late 1990s compared to temperatures in the middle of the 20th century.

  12. January 4, 2019 5:00 pm

    They can’t hide the pause. How long before they can’t hide the decline either?

  13. January 4, 2019 5:53 pm

    Oldbrew, they are trying hard to hide the pause. See this BS graphic from climate scientist Neil Kaye

  14. January 4, 2019 5:55 pm

    Paul H, on twitter, Tim Osborn seems furious that you have dared to plot a straightforward graph of Met Office data. Perhaps he would prefer it if you plotted a misleading one like Neil Kaye’s.

  15. JCalvertN permalink
    January 4, 2019 9:07 pm

    So? Our cities and airfields (where most of the Met Office stations are located) are bigger and better heated/airconditioned than ever.

  16. Gamecock permalink
    January 4, 2019 11:27 pm

    Does this mean I’m not going to die by 2100?

  17. Athelstan permalink
    January 5, 2019 12:21 am

    Even after all the ‘adjustments’ and even if you believed the figures (I don’t) then the ‘rise’ is, punily insignificant to unnoticeable.

    Really, there is nothing to see here and any neglible background warming is and always was: natural.


  18. January 5, 2019 8:25 am

    We must stop using graphs with X axes that exaggerate changes in temperature that people are barely capable of detecting. That is simply playing the game according to the alarmists’ rules. Show us a range of -10 to 35 centigrade and then let’s have a look at the annual variation.

    • January 5, 2019 1:26 pm

      Thank you. How are changes in tenths of a degree, plus or minus a quarter of degree, a threat to anyone or anything? Sometimes up a bit, sometimes down a bit; expressed to a precision more than double the uncertainty. The whole thing in ridiculous. There’s nothing interesting about the climate at all, except to specialists; and how this is in the paper and a topic of public concern and public policy-making is beyond my understanding.

  19. Dee permalink
    January 5, 2019 4:54 pm

    That’s interesting.

    In Ireland the national met service equivalent kicked off 2019 with graphics from NOAA and going much more pro AGW than before, presumably on the basis of the heatwave we had here last summer (which didn’t break any temperature records either) and the snow in March which was a repeat of what we had in 1982.

  20. January 7, 2019 12:49 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  21. Europeanonion permalink
    January 7, 2019 10:36 am

    I would like to think that if it did get warmer we would use less fuels anyway, inducing a different sort of balance.

  22. January 7, 2019 2:31 pm

    Hi Paul – Thank you for this website. Best, Allan

    I predicted that natural global cooling would commence by 2020 to 2030, in an article published 1Sept2002 in the Calgary Herald. I am now leaning closer to 2020 for cooling to start, possibly even earlier. I hope to be wrong. Humanity and the environment suffer during cooling periods.

    I suggest that it is long past time for society to prepare for the possibility of moderate global cooling.

    This would involve:
    1. Strengthening of electrical grid systems, currently destabilized by costly, intermittent green energy schemes;
    2. Reduce energy costs by all practical means.
    3. Development of contingency plans for food production and storage, should early frosts impact harvests;
    4. Develop contingency plans should vital services be disrupted by cold weather events – such as the failure of grid power systems, blocking of transportation corridors, etc.
    5. Improve home insulation and home construction standards.

    The current mania over (fictitious) catastrophic global warming has actually brewed the “perfect storm” – energy systems have been foolishly compromised and energy costs have been needlessly increased, to fight imaginary warming in a (probably) cooling world.

    I suggest this is the prudent path for Western societies to follow. It has no downside, even if global cooling does not occur, and considerable upside if moderate cooling does commence.

    Best, Allan

    Post Script:

    My co-authors and I also published in 2002:

    “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

    “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

  23. January 7, 2019 3:42 pm

    The Millennial Turning Point – Solar Activity and the Coming Cooling

    When analyzing complex systems with multiple interacting variables it is useful to note the advice of Enrico Fermi who reportedly said “never make something more accurate than absolutely necessary”. My recent paper presented a simple heuristic approach to climate science which plausibly proposed that a Millennial Turning Point (MTP) and peak in solar activity was reached in 1991.
    Zharkova et al 2015 DOI:10.10381/srep15683 says ” Dynamo wavesare found generated with close frequencies whose interaction leadsto beating effects responsible for the grand cycles (350-400years) superimposed on a standard 22 year cycle. This approachopens a new era in investigation and confident prediction of solaractivity on a millenium timescale. ”
    Svalgaard said on WUWT 10/27 2018 “The Wu et al. (2018) reconstruction of the sunspot number since 6755 BC combined with modern Multimessenger proxies covering the 19th century until today goes a long way to reconcile the cosmogenic solar activity record with recent assessments of long-term solar activity.”
    This is entirely consistentwith my approach and forecasts. The empirical temperature data is clear. The previous millennial cycle temperature peak was at about 990. ( see Fig 3 in the link below) The recenttemperature Millennial Turning Point was about 2003/4 ( Fig 4 in link below ) whichcorrelates with the solar millennial activity peak at 1991+/.The cycle is asymmetric with a 650 year +/- down-leg and a 350+/- year up-leg. The suns magnetic field strength as reflected in its TSI will generallydecline (modulated by other shorter term super-imposed solaractivity cycles) until about 2650.
    The temperature increase since about 1650 is clearly chiefly due to the up- leg in the natural solar activity millennial cycle as shown by Lean 2018 “Estimating Solar Irradiance Since 850 AD” Fig 5

    Lean 2018 Fig 5.
    This Lean figure shows an increase in TSI of about 2 W/m2 from the Maunder minimum to the 1991 activity peak . This TSI and solar magnetic field variation modulates the earths albedo via the GR flux and cloud cover. From the difference between the upper and lower quintiles of Fig 4 (in link below) a handy rule of thumb a la Fermi would conveniently equate this to a Northern Hemisphere temperature millennial cycle amplitude of about 2 degrees C with that amount of cooling probable by 2,650+/-.The MTP in cloud cover was at about 2000.

    The decline in solar activity since the 1991 solar activity MTP is seen in the Oulu neutron count.

    Because of the thermal inertia of the oceans there is a varyinglag between the solar activity MTP and the varying climatemetrics. The temperature peak is about 2003/4 – lag is about 12years. The arctic sea ice volume minimum was in 2012 +/- lag = 21years. Possible sea level Millennial Turning Point – Oct 2015 lag = 24 years +/- (see Since Oct 2015 sea level has risen at a rate of only 8.3cms/century. It will likely begin to fall within the next 4 or 5years. For the details see data, discussion, and forecasts in Figs3,4,5,10,11,and 12 in the links below.

    See the Energy and Environment paper
    The coming cooling: usefully accurate climate forecasting for policy makers.
    and an earlier accessible blog version at See also the discussion with Professor William Happer at
    The establishment’s dangerous global warming meme, the associated IPCC series of reports ,the entire UNFCCC circus, the recent hysterical IPCC SR1.5 proposals and Nordhaus’ recent Nobel prize are founded on two basic errors in scientific judgement. First – the sample size is too small. Most IPCC model studies retrofit from the present back for only 100 – 150 years when the currently most important climate controlling, largest amplitude, solar activity cycle is millennial. This means that all climate model temperature outcomes are too hot and likely fall outside of the real future world. (See Kahneman -. Thinking Fast and Slow p 118) Second – the models make the fundamental scientific error of forecasting straight ahead beyond the Millennial Turning Point (MTP) and peak in solar activity which was reached in 1991.These errors are compounded by confirmation bias and academic consensus group think.

  24. Ilkka Ponkanen permalink
    January 7, 2019 6:58 pm

    We can see from the seasonal graphs how the temperature variations follow the Atlantic oscillation (AMO – Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation). Its negative (cool) phase will begin in 3-4 years time and last for about 33 years.

  25. Olaf Rye permalink
    January 11, 2019 9:13 pm

    The observed changes in the UK weather over the last three decades matches to perfection the impact you would expect from the installed wind power capacity. Numerous studies have documented that wind power causes a temperature raise 0.7 to 1.4 K dependent on the season and latitude/location. When the wind passes the single wind power unit the wind speed decreases and the air is mixed in the lower section up to about 180 m above the ground. Air close to the ground most often is colder than a bit higher. When mixed the registered temperature close to the ground will increase. Wind power plants most often are placed close together, the only way the air can behave is to grow in the height as the speed reduces. This increases the probability of precipitation. In December 2018 UK had about 20.5 GW installed wind power equal to about 10.000 large wind power units. With that amount of wind power the wind in average will pass two wind power units when it pass the country and this explains the average drop in wind speed of 15 to 20 % across the country; exactly equal to observation made in USA, Australia and Europe. This accounts for the registered changes and leaves almost no room for impact from global warming effects.

    • Olaf Rye permalink
      January 11, 2019 9:46 pm

      If you look at the temperature changes over the last three decades for the different seasons you directly can observe the impact from the decrease in the wind speed after the wind power plants causing no additional sun warming in the winter time but significant for the spring, summer and autumn.

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