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Are Temperatures Becoming More Extreme?

July 24, 2019

By Paul Homewood




Somebody left this comment about temperature extremes last week. It is a very common claim, but an utterly fallacious one, no doubt propagated by fake news propaganda from the BBC and co.


So let’s see exactly what the IPCC had to say about in AR5 back in 2013:




To put in simple terms, heat extremes have increased in line with the rise in average temperatures, just as you would expect. But cold extremes have decreased in similar fashion.


In actual fact though, the IPCC have overstated the case, by using 1950 as a baseline.

For instance, the Federal Climate report published in 2017 finds that heatwaves are now much less extreme across most of the US than they used to be. As cold extremes have also declined sharply, it is evident that US temperatures have become less extreme at either end of the range.









Evidence from the CET also shows that it is cold extremes which are decreasing, whereas there has been no upward movement since the hot summer of 1976.


Hopefully, Zach is reading this, as he has obviously been badly misinformed.

  1. July 24, 2019 5:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  2. rah permalink
    July 24, 2019 6:12 pm

    When referring to a period of extremes of hot, cold, drought, and flooding during industrial era in the US the mid-1930’s takes the prize. A time when atmospheric CO2 was about 310 ppm.

    • tom0mason permalink
      July 25, 2019 10:00 pm

      In Britain well recorded extreme weather starts around the time of the Great Fire of London (6 September 1666, a major hot event and drought through most of Europe) right up to today.
      BTW by the winter of 1666-1667 there was a cold event with most of the Thames frozen over as was many European rivers.

      “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” — L.P. Hartley

  3. Broadlands permalink
    July 24, 2019 6:33 pm

    At the risk of being labeled a cynic, what is the point of all that? Are we supposed to say Wow! let’s all act soon to do something about it? Turn the “knob” on the climate back to some previous year when there were fewer extremes in weather. When was that? How do we do it?

    • July 25, 2019 6:51 pm

      Cancel the solar minimum and return the jetstream to a more consistent pattern 🤔

  4. July 24, 2019 6:37 pm

    Certainly the period around the Federation Drought in SE Australia had roughly the same high temperatures as today, a fact mentioned by Blair Trewin of the Australian BoM in a blog comment (I’ll try to find it again). Unfortunately the BoM stubbornly refuse to look at data before 1910, even though everyone else in the world has done so, without the benefit of the metadata that BoM holds in various libraries.

    • July 24, 2019 7:15 pm

      I’m pretty sure that Trewin made his comments on the Forum part of weatherzone, on a thread such as the following, or a nearby thread:

      A gold mine of information from sceptics, but grab it before November, the date when the Forum will be deleted.

    • July 24, 2019 7:33 pm

      weatherzone are not accepting any new users of their forum, you have to be a registered user to get a list of posts by “Blair Trewin”. Are there any registered users reading this?

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 24, 2019 7:09 pm

    The type of hyping of the current few days of hot weather is why people like Zach believe what they do. The BBC just said it is a sign of ‘global heating’ (following the centralized propaganda diktat) that is accelerating and heatwaves are becoming much more frequent.

    The obsessive desperate reporting certainly is becoming ever more frequent.

    The records that may fall tomorrow are just chance weather, perhaps exacerbated by UHI and poorly sited thermometers. The temperature profile on the BBC weather map looked like the London Conurbation heat-dome being smeared out by the wind, with the epicenter – you guessed it – actually stated in the forecast as Heathrow!

    Our weather records are actually very short/rubbish – old newspapers show 50C has been experienced in France before, but the record is lower than that (just set at 46C this year).

    A chunk of hot air where 45C+ is pretty normal this time of year blew out of N.Africa Sahara (centered Libya by the looks of it) leaving a cooler than normal ‘hole’. By pure chance this air mass has passed through Europe with very little mixing from other sources – it’s just a chance event of random weather patterns, not global warming/climate change.

    During this ‘heatwave’ event the N.Hemisphere anomaly has actually cooled about 0.2C, and the globe 0.1C (according to my viewing of climate reanalyzer), currently being only +0.2C (1979-2000) base.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      July 24, 2019 7:28 pm

      Yes this is a pure weather phenomenon. It is not “normal” summer weather made hotter by Climate Change. Lots of Alarmists know that and so are trying to blame the phenomenon itself on Climate Change but the BBC and others don’t even bother to do that.

  6. Phoenix44 permalink
    July 24, 2019 7:24 pm

    We may well have seen some increase in high temperatures over the last 100 years. So what? We have plenty of evidence of warm periods in the past. The fact that the average shows a pretty small increase however shows that if extreme high temperatures are more common than before and extreme cold is less common than before, then the non-extremes (which is most of the time) cannot have changed much and might even be a little lower than before.

  7. Gerry, England permalink
    July 24, 2019 8:13 pm

    The office talk was about how will we get in tomorrow with the heat affecting all the rail services. Yep, I do work with ignorant morons and it just shows the ‘zach principle’ at work. Keep pumping out the scary stuff like the named low pressures for example and people will fall for it. In the old days we just called this ‘nice weather’ and got on with it. The claimed figure to beat tomorrow is one from Faversham which if memory serves has some questionmarks against it??

  8. JimW permalink
    July 24, 2019 9:21 pm

    Clearly the continuing outbreak of mildness across the world is a reason to crater our economies and panic!

  9. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    July 24, 2019 11:59 pm

    We’re in the depths of a solar minimum. During such conditions the jet stream becomes more sinuous due to some interesting interactions with Earth’s magnetic field, which is less compressed by the solar field when the Sun is less active.

    When the jet stream is loopy you get alternating patches of unusual cold and unusual heat sweeping eastwards. Sometimes the jet stream locks these in place (called jet stream blocking) whereupon you can have an extended very hot heatwave.

    Last solar minimum saw many such events, like the great Moscow heatwave of 2010. In the winter of that year the UK had a memorable white out with satpics showing the whole of the Britain covered by snow. Likewise that was due to jet stream blocking.

    So we are indeed seeing more extreme weather recently because of the loopy Rossby waves. All due to the Sun.

    • dave permalink
      July 25, 2019 1:21 pm

      The 1976 heatwave was at a time of solar minimum.

      I might point out that Piers Corbyn of Weather Action is of the opinion that the weather reacts to the whole approx-22-year cycle, i.e. including the regular reversals of polarity as well. His theory is that the magnetic connections between the Sun and the Earth are stronger with one polarity than the other.

      Two whole (Hale) cycles from 1976 leads us to about now.

  10. July 25, 2019 12:16 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    July 25, 2019 7:52 am

    A lie can get around the world before the truth can get its boots on. Especially when the MSM keep pushing that lie, hard.

  12. July 25, 2019 9:06 am

    Here is a satellite photo of the Belgian military airbase (recently visited by proud Green MEPs, who had a bit of lie down on it as a publicity stunt) where the recent temperature record (sort-of) was set. Two reasons why it could be a record from a bog standard heatwave: more weather stations than in the past, hence more likely that the hottest part will get sampled, and possibly a short-lived heat trap station, from all that tarmac and low lying land.

  13. tom0mason permalink
    July 25, 2019 10:23 am

    Here’s some EXTREME weather for you —
    Lets go back to the weather of the 1850s, when CO2 levels were low (~280ppm), and the climate was apparently (according the the UN-IPCC) ‘stable’ …

  14. Bloke down the pub permalink
    July 25, 2019 10:54 am

    Perhaps the most significant lesson that should be taken from this, is that the claims of a climate emergency are created out of the space between what the IPCC say, and what the msm claim they say.

  15. tom0mason permalink
    July 25, 2019 12:41 pm

    It would be interesting if anyone could find recent (last 20 years) RURAL areas of the globe that has broken records for hot days. So far I can not find any — all I’ve found are in or close to cities and airports (especially airports).
    Humm, all this is just UHI effects?

  16. Ivan permalink
    July 25, 2019 1:11 pm

    In part this is a semantic issue. People are defining “extreme” in different ways.

    Here’s how the UK Met Office defines a heatwave, which is what many people would understand by extreme heat.
    Under the Met Office definition, heatwaves get more common under the climate change mechanism you have carefully described, as you plainly acknowledge. Under your definition of “extreme weather” – deviation from the mean – it doesn’t.

    You have described a distribution of temperature just being shifted upwards, same standard deviation, same shape, etc. I wondered if that was true, and have not found a sufficiently strong argument to say that something materially different is happening. Some “popular” sources disagree: this website, for example, suggests that the shape of the distribution is changing substantially. But they don’t cite anything work to justify that. My attempt to try and find proper studies of this did not really bear their claim out. It is a very difficult statistical task, in practice. One paper I found studied the distribution of daily minima separately from the distribution of daily maxima. These distributions have rather different shapes to start with (daily minima are more narrowly distributed for starters). Calculating the distribution for one period in comparision with another suggests, on the face of it, that they are changing in shape in different ways. Other studies find different temperature distribution shape changes by region of the world. But there is not much statistical confidence in any of these studies, and the changes they show are small.

    From a very high level perspective, we would expect deviations from the mean to tend to reduce for a sufficient atmospheric “thickening”. Atmosphere tends to reduce surface temperature variations. For one extreme, Venus with its very “thick” atmosphere has very little variation in surface temperature by day/night, latitude or season. At the other extreme, the Moon without an atmosphere exhibiits larger temperature variations than seen on earth, typical day/night variation is over 200K for example. Though what we mean by “surface temperature” for a body with no atmosphere is different from what we mean on earth, where we measure the temperature of the atmosphere a few metres above the surface, rather than “actual surface temperature”.

    • July 25, 2019 5:06 pm

      Yes, as I have pointed out before, heatwaves are a relative concept. As average summer temperatures increase over time, the threshold for a heatwave should also move upwards, something the Met Office fail to do

  17. July 25, 2019 4:54 pm

    The latest issue of Private Eye describes the Global Warming Policy Foundation as a evidence-free-conspiracists
    So I guess all the posts of data do not count as evidence.
    The GWPF obviously needs a lesson from the BBC on evidence.
    It Is important in Climate Change to know which way the wind blows.
    If the Political and financial wind is pushing in a certain direction. Then one must learn to follow the preferred direction.

    • July 25, 2019 5:08 pm

      Private Eye sold its soul to the liberal establishment years ago.

      Booker was very scathing about them (and Hislop in particular) when we spoke (even though he continued to write sketches for them!)

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 25, 2019 8:43 pm

      Hislop, who used to be funny, is now nought but a go-to for the BBC when they want a contrary opinion. His anger at BJ was apparent – and visceral – when he was interviewed about BJ. It was as if Hislop has never made any mistake or error – moral or humanist – in his life. I tend to think that those who can point out the mote in others’ eyes are often blind to their own.
      The BBC needs to move HIGNFY to a political slot: it is not longer humour.

  18. Athelstan. permalink
    July 25, 2019 5:13 pm

    yeah so, erm, trashing the UK economy by going full zero/green mental will solve all of the PERCEIVED climate problems……………

    how’s that going to work then?

    “work” – there won’t be any!

    Never mind greta will lend us fables and the Swedish money tree.

  19. Carbon500i permalink
    July 25, 2019 6:19 pm

    On its front page today, the Nottingham Post proclaims that at the Met Office weather station in Sutton Bonington, the previous Nottinghamshire all time highest temperature was 34.8C, recorded on August 3rd 1990. Yet on the link below, we see that the tmax for August 1990 was 24.1C:
    What is going on here? I would welcome any insights!

    • July 25, 2019 6:28 pm

      24.1C is the tmax monthly mean

      • Carbon500 permalink
        July 25, 2019 8:36 pm

        Thanks Paul!

    • Ivan permalink
      July 26, 2019 11:02 am

      I remember Aug 3rd 1990 very well. It was a day when the UK temp record was broken, at Cheltenham, which held until it was exceeded by the Faversham record in 2003. I was working in Birmingham that day, where the temperature was within a gnat’s crotchet of the Cheltenham level. I remember it so clearly because I left my airconditioned office to go and watch a stage of The Milk Race finish with 3 laps of the city centre, in late afternoon, at the worst of the heat.

  20. JimW permalink
    July 25, 2019 9:32 pm

    Paul, you might want to cast your eye on the record lows for July about to occur across the S East US.

  21. July 26, 2019 9:28 am

    Hello Paul,

    I can understand Zach’s confusion because:-

    1. You correctly quote the first two paragraphs of section 2.6.1 of the FULL version of the IPCC’s AR5 report where this section occurs on page 209. The key text appears to be “Changes in the occurrence of cold and warm days (based on daily maximum temperatures) are generally less marked”.

    2. However, your link ( took me to the SYNTHESIS report where at page 10 in the final paragraph we read, “It is very likely that heat waves will occur with a higher frequency and longer duration.”

    3. Clearly, the SYNTHESIS report does NOT accurately represent the wording of the FULL report. I thought – silly me – that one of the main purposes of a free press was to seek out such inconsistencies and bring them to the public’s attention and thereby speak truth to power.

    John Cullen.

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