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Met Office Claims Of New Record At Cambridge Look Very Dodgy

July 26, 2019

By Paul Homewood




The Met Office have rather conveniently decided that a new record might have been set in Cambridge after all, at the Botanical Gardens.

According to the Met Office location details, this is where it is situated:




It appears to be on top of the building, but I suspect the NOAA Metadata below is more accurate:



Either way, the Botanical Gardens are well surrounded by the urbanised city, particularly to the south and east, where the wind was blowing from yesterday:



If anyone is familiar with the Botanical Gardens, they might shed some light on matters.

At the moment the Botanical Garden site is showing 38.7C, compared to the 38.1C set at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), about 2 miles (3 km) north of the city centre near Girton.

Even more significantly, there is a third official site at Cambridge, run by the University’s Digital Technology Group.

This is away from the City Centre (marked Thomson Avenue) below:



Read at half hourly intervals, this site only maxed out at 36.1C:

We would expect a slight increase between the half hour readings, at 3.00 and 3.30pm, but surely not a degree or more.


Any help on the siting etc from locals would be much appreciated, but the Botanical Gardens reading, if confirmed, would appear to be badly biased by UHI.



The Botanical Gardens have now emailed me to say that the weather station is located in our Experimental beds next to the Garden Cafe. (The cafe is marked 32 on the map below:



That would seem to put the thermometer very close to the buildings immediately to the north of the cafe.


I think this may be a candidate:



If it is this, it is about 15m from the high hedge to the west and south, which could act as a suntrap:



  1. July 26, 2019 5:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  2. The Man at the Back permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:35 pm

    Given the page that “It doesn’t add up” linked to at 1:52pm today on the previous thread – how does that work?

    It calls Andrewsfield the nearest site to Cambridge Botanical Gardens

    If you click on the down arrow under Andrewsfield (top leftish) for nearby observation sites – it gives cambridgeniab as mentioned by PM as the nearest site at 3.7miles

    Where did the new data suddenly come from?

    • Chris Martin permalink
      July 26, 2019 5:52 pm

      To be fair the Botanic Garden is an independent University site and (if it is like I remember it) readings are read once a day in the morning, whereas NIAB is an automatic weather station and part of the Met Office AWS system that logs temperatures minute by minute. That’s likely why the new figure only emerged this morning, following the morning’s reading of the instruments.

      • The Man at the Back permalink
        July 26, 2019 8:09 pm

        Thanks Chris for that. Is it just a data logger of some kind? Not Mercury in glass these days?

      • The Man at the Back permalink
        July 26, 2019 8:41 pm

        Thanks for the clarification Chris – I thought I had replied, but perhaps not. Old age creeps in. Is it some form of data logger linked to a digital thermometer?

      • Chris Martin permalink
        July 26, 2019 10:49 pm

        The Man at the Back… I don’t know what type of sensor they are using now at the Botanic Garden or NIAB, definitely some type of electronic sensor — platinum resistance thermometers I think are Met Office standard now???. Mercury in glass thermometers are illegal and banned and one of the issues was that these were banned with very little notice, so there was no overlap with the new sensors to enable comparison of their readings with the old mercury-in-glass thermometers that have been used since the 19th Century

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        July 27, 2019 9:07 am

        Any person measuring collecting data and changes equipment and or methodology and doesn’t run the old and new in parallel and against standard known standards can’t be regarded as competent. As a result their rdsul9can only handled in the same way as for a back garden weather station – interesting but of no scientific value.

  3. cajwbroomhill permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:36 pm

    A brilliant analysis and a cautionary note!

  4. Joe Public permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:39 pm

    Why would that particular reading need ‘validating’, when yesterday’s reading (and lots of others) were trumpeted immediately, and apparently didn’t need to wait for ‘validation’?

    • July 26, 2019 6:36 pm

      They were likely the usual stations the Met Office uses.

    • Phil Morrish permalink
      July 27, 2019 8:49 pm

      They were already using MET office standard equipment and sites already regularly monitored.

  5. Pancho Plail permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:43 pm

    Interesting to note that between 10 and 10.30 am at the Digital Technology Group’s they recorded 0.52 hours of sunshine. I know it is not a large discrepancy but…..

  6. Pancho Plail permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:52 pm

    I would be interested to know if it is normal for humidity to vary so much over a period of an hour – 28 to 11 to 29% from 15.30 to 16.30

  7. Thomas Carr permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:53 pm

    So what you might ask.
    Was the Faversham reading taken in an identical urban environment in 2003 — if a strictly valid comparable is to be the nirvana. Anyway its all fairly inconsequential except for the BBC’s hubris.
    You have already explained that weather does not equal climate.
    Hope you saw that the Grantham Institute made 2 self gratifying appearances on the NEWS channel after 5pm today.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 26, 2019 6:11 pm

      It’s next to “The Flying Pig” pub! YCMIU.

  8. Chris Martin permalink
    July 26, 2019 6:03 pm

    The big question here, Paul, is whether modern electronic thermometers are more sensitive than the old mercury-in-glass thermometers that were in universal use until the last 20 years or even less. My understanding is that mercury thermometers respond slightly more slowly (temperature fluctuates all the time) and so didn’t pick up some of the spikes of actual temperature as quickly as the new electronic sensors now record. The other point is that the sensors can be set to ‘sample’ at different time intervals. My understanding is that the Met Office operates a system that uses the running average of 60 x 1 second samples to give a ‘temperature figure’. The US uses a 5 minute running average for one of its networks and fixed five minute periods for another. In Australia they use a more frequent sampling system and this has been criticised as meaning that new records are being created for high temperatures simply because the new thermometers are catching momentary (natural) spikes in temperature. ….. I do not know what side-by-side testing has been done in British conditions of mercury-in-glass compared to electronic sensor. There is, therefore, the possibility that we are artificially capturing some new records – and this may explain why in the article the half hourly values maxed at 36.1 yet at some point a peak ‘flash’ much higher than this was recorded as the max for the day.

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 26, 2019 6:23 pm


      Thanks for explaining those very salient points.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 26, 2019 8:05 pm


      Thanks for the clarification. I knew from Jennifer Marohasy that the Aussies were measuring in single second increments on certain sites since the introduction of digital equipment, but I wasn’t aware that whilst the UK was averaged over a minute, the Americans are averaged over 5 minutes.

      Although perhaps not particularly impactful, I understand that when the Stevenson screen was developed, there were two versions, the British and the American. So even in terms of basic equipment there are variations.

      What I do continue to find highly amusing though, is that whilst reading from both static land based sites employing Stevenson screens have been recorded since the 1850’s, they were developed as local weather stations, not as a global network of climate predictors.

      My amusement is compounded by how they calibrated those sites between, say, Australia and England. By letter? or perhaps telegraph. Not that I understand calibration of remote sites, but it does seem a challenge.

      What does seem more ridiculous is the attention paid to these sites. Being that they were local weather stations, how many were really attended to by the on site ‘scientist’ twice a day. Would it be too far fetched to imagine the tea boy being sent out regularly to record the temperature, wind speed and precipitation in the Aussie outback, to have bunked off for a ciggy, recording variables ‘the same as yesterday’ without actually checking.

      Then there’s the height, and eyesight difference between those eyeballing a mercury thermometer. I’m sure there might have been a mechanism developed to ensure accurate reading of a thermometer, but it wasn’t available on the Stevenson screen we had in our school grounds in the 1970’s.

      Then there’s the materials used to maintain, repair and even paint (if they ever were) Stevenson screens. I’m sure you’re getting the picture.

      I’ll finish on saying the Sea Surface Temperatures are no different in the data available. The Cutty Sark was still sailing commercially in the 1920’s I believe, It would probably have been one of the ships recording data, by the sophisticated means of chucking a bucket over the side, to no defined depth, along well plied trade routes.

      In those days, it would have been an extraordinary event for a ship to deliberately sail into the Southern Ocean, and for the crew to consider taking SST measurements. They would most likely be in trouble and chucking buckets over the side would be the last thing on their mind.

      But apparently, with homogenisation of all this patchy data, we can determine both land and SST’s, to a fraction of a degree.

      I don’t think so!

      • Chris Martin permalink
        July 26, 2019 10:53 pm

        There is certainly a quality control issue always if you are reliant on human eye. The well known case is that of the highest temperature recorded in the UK in July 1959 – the record books since then have always said that the hottest temperature was 96F, recorded at Gunby, in Lincolnshire. In very recent years it is apparent that this figure is much too high and, when comparing it to other reporting stations it is likely to have been only 91F. Clearly the observer made an error

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      July 26, 2019 8:43 pm

      Thanks for that info Chris.

  9. Roy permalink
    July 26, 2019 6:13 pm

    The roads around the Botanical Gardens are always busy with plenty of standing traffic at the junctions – could this be a factor? I spend many hours a week at the athletics track which can be seen just to the SE of Thomson Avenue, and yes it’s pretty much open fields for miles to the south.

  10. Eoin Mc permalink
    July 26, 2019 6:21 pm

    Having coined the term Peak Hype I now wish to amend that to Climatemania!

  11. A C Osborn permalink
    July 26, 2019 6:21 pm

    Another point to consider is, just how long has this Station been in operation at this site & in that position?

  12. Pancho Plail permalink
    July 26, 2019 6:37 pm

    NASA says that global temperature has risen by 1K since 1880, with half of that since 1975. So that is approximately 0.1K per decade.
    I think most people who visit this site accept that since the little ice age there has been a slow but continuous rise in global temperatures.
    The previous all time record was recorded in 2003 at 38.5K, so I would expect the maximum to increase in line with the general rise in global temperature, ie by 0.16k bringing it to 38.7K (with rounding).
    So whether it is confirmed as a record or not, that value is entirely consistent with the steady rise we have been seeing for at least the last 50 years.

    • bobn permalink
      July 26, 2019 8:12 pm

      Exactly right. Its meant to be getting warmer – naturally! With the little ice age as a nadir in the milankovich cycle we are still in the upswing to a peak in the cycle (any guesses on peak timing -2300ish? before declining again). Of course we are likely to have a few decades of dip along the way soon for the solar minimum. But after 2050 we should continue the Milankovich cycle up. Nothing to do with puny humans of course!
      A further note is that a 2 day warm event doesnt count for anything – its not even met the ‘heatwave’ criteria.

    • Gamecock permalink
      July 26, 2019 10:35 pm

      “The previous all time record was recorded in 2003 at 38.5K”

      What does that even mean? You say Kelvin; do you mean Celsius?

  13. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 26, 2019 6:46 pm

    Not that far away there’s massive reflective window surfaces, massive concrete facades and hard landscaping/terrace, industrial scale air conditioning vents on the roof (and industrial kitchen extraction I expect), it looks like an area that is constantly being disturbed and remodeled – what activities were happening on the day?

    It’s a ludicrous location to take serious precision temperature readings.

    • I_am_not_a_robot permalink
      July 26, 2019 10:19 pm

      The huge building to the NW covered in solar panels is Sainsbury Laboratory, ‘the 11,000-square metre building was completed in December 2010’ (Wiki).

  14. July 26, 2019 6:54 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    How does this fare against WMO standards?

  15. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 26, 2019 7:12 pm

    A disturbing thought has occurred to me. The gardens are open to the public daily until 6p.m., and are free to students. I do hope that there was no interference with the weather station by extremists determined to create a record. The extent of divergence in measurement from other local stations seems large.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 27, 2019 8:58 am

      A similar thought occurred to me, given all live the press coverage, if it isn’t locked, curious people could have been checking it and allowed the sun to shine directly onto the thermometer, certainly they would have upset any air exchange equilibrium inside the screen.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        July 27, 2019 2:49 pm

        I was thinking more along the lines of a hand held butane burner wafted around the Stevenson screen for a couple of minutes.

  16. Simon Maxwell permalink
    July 26, 2019 7:55 pm

    I was reading this article a few days ago. It’s about something called the ‘Urban Heat Island Effect’. It’s rather interesting.

  17. Joe Public permalink
    July 26, 2019 8:05 pm

    Tallbloke’s colleague Tim Channon had a post “Cambridge [University] Botanic Garden” back in 2012.

    ““We have been recording weather data at the Botanic Garden since 1904 and supply daily figures to the Meteorological Office at Bracknell.” — ref

    Someone tell Cambridge University the Met Office moved but that is trivial relative to their issues over siting a Stevenson screen. A consequence is the claimed time series since 1904 is thrown into question, how much if any is reasonable?

    Estimated Class 5, unstable environment. 2003, near polytunnel, bare ground. Microclimate.

    UHI, local unstable site, polytunnels or glass, bare ground, building works, in Cambridge town, distance, largely semi-rural.

    “The highest known temperature recorded in the area was 37.3 °C at Cavendish on 10 August 2003 and 36.9 °C was recorded that day at Cambridge Botanic Garden [Google tells of polytunnels and bare earth] and 36.5 °C there on 3 August 1990. The highest UK temperature stands at 38.5 °C at [Brogdale Fruit Farm,] Faversham in Kent on 10 August 2003.”

    “The graphs show the average frequency of air and ground frost at Cambridge Botanic Garden and Waddington.” but we know Waddington is not very good. No mention Waddington is 118km NNW

    The point is that the Met Office have the audacity to conflate casual met sites with climatic sites and in so doing pull the minor sites into the agenda.

    Link to above quotes–

    The Botanic Garden web site is commendably low on talking down and even admits of the past year “Despite the atrocious weather…”

  18. dearieme permalink
    July 26, 2019 8:17 pm

    The fact that NIAB reads a little lower than the Botanic Garden makes sense to me. The Botanics are, like the rest of the city centre, in the valley of the Cam; you get to NIAB by leaving the river valley, pedalling up Castle Hill. The journey from the city centre up Castle Hill is one I’ve made often; the decline in temperature on hot days was often large enough that no thermometer was required – you could feel the drop yourself.

    Expect higher readings from NIAB in future: the fields of the University Farm on the other (SW) side of Huntingdon Road have now been “developed”, and the playing fields behind (i.e. NE of) NIAB are being developed currently.

    It was bloody hot in the Cambridge area yesterday, I will say, but the temperature has dropped a good deal today.

    One small point: when I visit the Met Office website and check the figures for the last 24 hours it claims that Bedford is the location of the nearest temperature record. Strange are the ways of the Met Office.

  19. Joe Public permalink
    July 26, 2019 8:25 pm

    Tim Channon’s 4th image on Tallbloke’s Talkshop:

    Thanks to the great resolution from Gregory Waggett’s PERMALINK
    July 26, 2019 5:56 pm google ref for Botanical Gardens, we have:

    *If* the Stevenson Screen has not been relocated (& I’ve identified its correct location), then:

    Zoomed in, with the corner of the curved-roof building as a point of reference:

  20. The Man at the Back permalink
    July 26, 2019 8:26 pm

    If the site is as Paul surmises from the Google maps and siting near the cafe – then I have seen worse exposures than this. But having said that it is far from ideal. The image has a 2019 date stamp, but is the instrumentation still surrounded by what looks like bare earth?
    There is grass close up, but baked soil upwind would surely call the exposure into question.

  21. July 26, 2019 9:46 pm

    There are three sites in Cambridge, park farm, where the original record was achieved, on the roof of a university building and the botanic gardens. I checked all three last night. The one on the university roof was around two degrees centigrade lower than park farm. That One has new buildings round it so I was a little suspicious of it as a record and suspected the kew gardens temperature was more likely, at a fraction lower.

    The botanic gardens had nothing at all on its site to suggest a record so i assume it is only manually checked in the morning? Surprised there was not a check made yesterday evening though as I suspect the grape vine had already alerted them to a record set just down the road.

    It’s poorly placed anyway With a variety of buildings belonging to the gardens close by including greenhouses, but with significant development just outside the site as well, as can be seen with the last but one picture with that vast array of solar panels on a large building. Cambridge station is close by.

    The city has grown enormously and these days the botanic garden is probably one of those sites too compromised to do anything more than supply approximate figures, rather than scientifically valid ones to tenths of a degree.


  22. Gamecock permalink
    July 26, 2019 10:44 pm

    Nothing gets you better creds in the climate ‘science’ community that a record HIGH temperature. They will make a record happen.

    I saw it when my state set a record high in 2012. It was cheesy . . . but inevitable.

  23. Athelstan. permalink
    July 26, 2019 11:13 pm

    It highlights, and begs during a pretty cold spell in June, the wet office stayed and steadfastly silent about the coolness of the UK summer.

    And yet, as soon as a freak spike occurs, it’s clarioned from the rooftops! ‘hottest evah’ since time immemorial or actually since ‘records began’ but no mention of new calibrations, fancy gizmo measuring devices and such nor about UHI effects either – stange that huh?

    Also Funny to report, the wetmen, even they admitted that it – this hot plume originated in the Sahara and drawn up by a set of unusual synchronous conditions, a blocking high in Europe and low pressure system rotation to the SW and drawing up the winds from the south Med and beyond.
    Yes, these conditions occur from time to time, but to make fallacious correlation with something that man is supposedly doing ie mmCO2= warming, is a fabulous association done via some very malignant minds.

    One could almost surmise that, they were pushing some sort of agenda – perish the very thought of it, eh?

  24. Richard Hinton permalink
    July 26, 2019 11:15 pm

    The site is as arrowed and the temperature is read in a ‘standard’ Stevenson Screen. But what is a ‘standard’ site? This site is no more sheltered than St James Park with its nearby tress and shrubs or Heathrow (both in London) with all its concrete and asphalt outside the grass compound.

  25. July 27, 2019 1:25 am

    Any readers here near the site and fancy a visit? If it was near me I’d happily go to see the gardens themselves and get a pic of the weather station if poss. £6 adult entry is not bad.

  26. July 27, 2019 1:25 am

    Cambridge NIAB is the official weather station for Cambridge. What status does this Botanic Gardens station have? Is it quality controlled on a regular basis?

    What stations “count” and what stations are invalid? What is to stop me from setting-up a weather station on my driveway and claiming a record?

    • Bitter&twisted permalink
      July 27, 2019 10:34 am

      NIAB is on the outskirts. But increasingly encroached on by building. The new town of Eddington is literally just across the road.

    • Chris Martin permalink
      July 27, 2019 11:49 am

      About 180 or so stations (observation sites) across the UK are officially equipped to Met Office standards and report electronically, so that you can find online data hourly or half hourly from this stations, NIAB Cambridge is one of them. There are then other stations, in the old days these were called climatological stations, that report once a day – this was the classic site, operated by a local authority, institution, or occasionally private individual, where someone went to read the thermometers and measure the rain once a day at 9am. Cambridge Uni Botanic Gardens is one of these latter. It has a long track record and has reported data either daily or on monthly paper returns (in the old days) to the Met office for more than a century. All these stations were -still are? – inspected from time to time by the Met Office and observers and the weather stations they operated were supposed to comply with standards and rules set out by the Met Office. In the old days the ‘Observer’s Handbook’ was the ‘Bible’…. You had to get your site approved and then, if you maintained quality you were chosen to appear in the Monthly Weather Report, the official record document (although this was last published in the 1990s and now everything is online and data can actually be more difficult to get.

  27. July 27, 2019 1:30 am

    Here is a Streetview of the installation itself.,0.129621,2a,15y,213.85h,85.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbCA–MALBdWkMxmcaRTP9g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    Is that a standard-compliant roof on that Stevenson Screen?

  28. July 27, 2019 1:45 am

    Bing Maps “Birdseye” view was taken a few years earlier than the Google Maps view. It shows the adjacent building to the NW still under construction. But more interestingly, a couple of plastic greenhouses very close to the weather station.
    I wonder what effect a nearby (say 30 ft?) greenhouse (with all the ventilators fully opened) would have?

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      July 27, 2019 8:58 am

      Thanks Calvertn for the image which confirms that the exposure is far from ideal, and it does look as though some bare earth is still close by. I am no expert on small screens but the roof looks inadequate and may be dark in colour.

      The quotes from Tallbloke’s site that Joe Public posted above, appear to be from a climate inspection report of the site. This says that it is a UHI affected microclimate with some bare earth.

      The exposure could be worse, and many are, but it doesn’t really meet proper standards. Assuming the reading is accurate. You could find places nearby to give you even higher temps.

      I assume that the screen may originally have had mercury in glass thermometers. It is unclear what the sensors are now. It seems to be read once a day. Anyone any ideas?

  29. July 27, 2019 2:21 am

    The BBC article about dismissing the Temperature variability over the last 2000 years because none of the events were on a global scale now sets the scene such that anyone mentioning them will be called a denier.

    However, the corollary is that any ‘local’ variation in climate can also be dismissed as irrelevant because only true ‘global’ averages can be considered as reflecting man-made climate change

    It would be even more ridiculous to quote a few ‘record high’ readings from across Europe to in any way support the idea that the planet is getting warmer. The good folks at the Met Office know this fine well and the only reason to make a big deal of it is for feeding the press with ‘PR’ material.

    The variability problem is huge, and I think if they are honest it hasn’t been solved

    This is from true “believers” (left liberals judging by the snarky moderation) but they say –
    Can those inhomogeneities be detected by comparing records from neighbouring stations
    Yes, most stations have other nearby stations with substantially similar records.

  30. Bertie permalink
    July 27, 2019 7:25 am

    I’m usually pretty much a lone voice in the pub as an AGW sceptic – this site being an invaluable supplier of facts to counter the fantasies. ‘Record High Temperature’ came up yesterday (they try and bait me!). Surprisingly there was total agreement with my remarks concerning the siting of the gauges. 1-0 to the goodies!

  31. July 27, 2019 7:51 am

    Some one on Sky said it was the hottest in the planets history. What even hotter than when the planet formed.
    I might be a bit thick. But would it not be better to get a number of readings from different stations and average them out. Plus multiple readings over a period of time. To establish the temperature. Rather than one station that peaks for a short period of time.
    As they say one swallow does not make a summer.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      July 27, 2019 10:07 am

      Meh! Call me when hippos return to the Thames, like 120,000 years ago.

  32. John Cooknell permalink
    July 27, 2019 9:15 am

    The temperature record began when there was only 1 billion of us, now there are 7 billion of us. It is remarkable that so little change has been measured.

  33. John Cooknell permalink
    July 27, 2019 9:37 am

    A question, which record has been broken, is it an UHI adjusted record? Climatologists tell us you must adjust! When did the record start and how long has the station that recorded the record been where it is.

  34. Gerry, England permalink
    July 27, 2019 10:03 am

    This has set me wondering if there is a case to carry out a surfacestations audit in the UK as was done in the US. Do we have enough people to visit all the official sites? I can think of one probably insurmountable problem though – gaining access to private sites. Nobody will be allowed at Heathrow but then all airports should be excluded anyway as being contaminated and not having records from the 1930s. Just a thought on this very wet cold 62F morning.

  35. Bitter&twisted permalink
    July 27, 2019 10:31 am

    I live in Cambridge and whenever I drive in or out of Cambridge there is a1-2C difference shown by my car’’s OTG.
    This is over a distance of 1 mile. It is always hotter in central Cambridge,

  36. Peter permalink
    July 27, 2019 10:34 am

    Well, we are located in a rural setting some 22.75 miles SE of the Cambridge Botanic Gardens site and my [electronic sensor] air temperature recordings peaked at 34.0C (for some 20 minutes around 4pm). The temperature here fluctuated between 32.2 and 33.9C several times over a couple of hours as isolated clouds moved over.
    There are some big discrepancies in recordings made in this small part of East Anglia on that day – not that I’m suspicious.

    • Phil permalink
      July 27, 2019 8:32 pm

      Very interesting. I reached 35.2c at 4.40pm in Leicestershire which beat my Aug 1990 record by 0.2c

  37. SirClive permalink
    July 27, 2019 10:55 am

    Let’s look at it like this.. give them 50% of the 1degree warming in the last 100 years is due to C02 emissions. Then 37.5 out of (say) 38 degrees is due to non CO2… i make that 99% of the temperature is due to natural causes. C’est La Vie…

  38. Stonyground permalink
    July 27, 2019 11:33 am

    I think that we might be missing the point slightly by debating whether a particular new temperature record is authentic and therefore somehow highly significant. If runaway warming was happening in the way that the alarmists would have us believe, then these records would be tumbling everywhere and by significant margins. What about the cold temperature records, they are being broken regularly too.

    • Chris Martin permalink
      July 27, 2019 12:08 pm

      Stoneyground, this is a very good point. Two things. Firstly, like throwing several ‘sixes’ in a row, it is possible for conditions to line up just to the right point for a record to be broken – in one place this is ‘weather’ and not ‘climate change’. The randomness of this is also shown that temperatures can vary significantly across even local areas and when a ‘record’ is measured note that it is not always the same towns each heatwave – could be Cheltenham one time, London Heathrow another, Cambridge another, Southampton, etc etc. Second, on your point about longstanding records it is certainly the case that there are many parts of the country where ‘records’ have not been beaten for some considerable number of years or have only recently been equalled. In my own county of Yorkshire, the Met Office has said that Sheffield reported a temperature of 35.6C on Thursday. Accepting that at face value this is the same value and does not beat the all-yorkshire record that was set as long ago as 1906: on 2nd September 1906 Bawtry Hall, Doncaster reported 96F as a maximum (ie 35.6C in new money). Other areas where old records may barely have been equalled include Oxford…. not sure what they measured on Thursday at the Radcliffe Met Station, but in the longest continuous temperature series in England their top temperature is 35.1C measured on 19 August 1932 and again on 3 August 1990. Leicestershire is another example where the record maximum temperature was 95F and this has been recorded several times – 95F (35C) was recorded in 1906 at Collyweston (just on the edge of the county boundary); 95F again (35C) in 1911 at Belvoir Castle and Leicester; 35.0c (95F) again in 1990 at Caldecott and 35.1 (95.2F) again at Leicester University in 2003. There is only one on-line official site now in the county and that is Market Bosworth and the highest hourly value I can for find Thursday this week was 34C (93F). There is a station at Sutton Bonington (just a km across the county boundary) and the highest hourly value here appears to be 35.6C/96F. Even if we accept this record at face value this only just beats the 35C/95F mark that has been the county record dating back over a century….

      • Phil Morrish permalink
        July 27, 2019 8:46 pm

        A brilliant article. I have been recording in Leics for 30 years. I got 35.2c on Thursday at Mountsorrel which beat my Aug 1990 figure by 0.1c. There is a non standard record for Leics going back to 1832 which was mainly done at the Towers hospital site by the gardeners there. The highest figure they recorded was in July 1868 at 36.7c but i stress this is a non standard reading. The 35c was the typical reading on Thurs with my AWS at Mountsorrel recording 35.2c , Coalville Leics 35.2c with Cosby at 35.6c. The highest local figure was at Campbell scientific Shepshed who make MET office instruments. They recorded 36.4c. A memorable day!!!

    • Smoke&Mirrors permalink
      July 27, 2019 2:12 pm

      A point very well made.
      And a sense of proportion is needed as well.
      For example, take a globe – something 12″ in diameter will do nicely. Then place the tip of a pin on the site in Cambridge.
      Finding it difficult to locate the site? The tip of the pin will probably smother the whole of Cambridge. Never mind, just place the pin somewhere near.

      Then move back (carefully!) and look at the whole globe and wonder if a single high temperature reading at the tip of your pin has any relevance to anything.

  39. Phil Morrish permalink
    July 27, 2019 8:24 pm

    Many people think the Faversham 2003 38.5c is also wrong thanks to the enclosed nature of the site. Phil Eden always favoured the Kew Gardens 38.1c on this date. This site also looks quite sheltered!

  40. dennisambler permalink
    July 30, 2019 4:06 pm

    After an absence, Numberwatch is back online. John Brignell discussed records a few years back:
    Why do records always increase? There is one obvious reason. By definition they cannot go down, so if they change it must be in an upward direction. One further possible reason for records to increase is that the quantity being observed is not stationary (e.g. the average value is actually increasing with time), but even if the process is stationary there is still a reason for records to increase. As we keep adding data, the size of the statistical sample is increasing.


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