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Cambridge Botanical “Too Compromised” For Climatological Purposes

July 27, 2019
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

Thanks to reader calvertn, we have finally pinned down the Stevenson Screen at Cambridge Botanical Park:

 image

At the top right is the cafe already identified.

And as Tonyb commented, the site really is far too compromised to be used for climatological purposes:

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.

Just one more comment. The very large building to the northwest is the Sainsbury Laboratory, which was built as recently as 2011.

The hanger-like building to the right of the Laboratory is the Plant Growth Facility, built in 2004. It provides state-of-the-art controlled environment capabilities, so one could imagine plenty of air conditioning during the heat wave.

image_thumb-65

 

These recent changes alone should rule out the Botanical Garden site as scientifically meaningful.

49 Comments
  1. July 27, 2019 12:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  2. July 27, 2019 1:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  3. July 27, 2019 1:21 pm

    Any one reading at a single site could be an outlier. Surely the Met Office must know this?

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      July 27, 2019 9:13 pm

      IIRC, the readings at Heathrow, were at least 1C higher than anywhere else nearby.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    July 27, 2019 1:46 pm

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 27, 2019 2:00 pm

    The BBC is obsessed with Arctic wildfires at the moment – the 1979-2000 anomaly for the Arctic is currently 0.0C .

    Mind you they should worry about fires. The July CET is currently 18.0C, exactly the same as 1666………. London watch out!

  6. Adrian, East Anglia permalink
    July 27, 2019 2:22 pm

    My TFA home weather station recorded a peak of 38.4C at 15:26 last Thursday, in an open rural location about 12 miles from Cambridge with no engines running or ac plant or boilers operating in the vicinity. Probably just as valid as any official number. But what, if any, is the true significance of a couple of tenths either way at one instant in time?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 27, 2019 4:50 pm

      It matters a lot if you are trying to keep the public believing in your global warming scam which is bringing the cash rolling in. Would the MetO have got £90m of taxpayer cash for its new computer if everything was fine?

      • Gamecock permalink
        July 27, 2019 9:48 pm

        Exactly. This isn’t about science; it’s politics. They’ve got what they need to declare a record. They will.

        ‘the site really is far too compromised to be used for climatological purposes’

        Uhhh . . . no, it’s not.

        I’ve seen it happen before.

  7. Athelstan. permalink
    July 27, 2019 3:41 pm

    Let it be, records such as they are, can be beaten.

    Certainly cold worries me far more than a bit of heat.

    We live at the top in a brick building, much like a storage radiator, the stored heat irradiating into the building is approx 25ºC and outside Ts now circa 16-17ºC and will take some days to arrive at some sort of equilibrium. Britain cannot cope with very hot weather, even oop t’ north the Temp ranged into the mid 90s. I think Sheff hit 95 odd. It is noted that, during the 1976 hot spot, 30 was regularly surpassed and in sequence, thank the Lord that this time it was a one day wonder. Though, one must be slightly sceptical of these ‘modern records’ all said and done, when in 76, the thermometers didn’t exceed 38º C?? How could it be?

    • donald penman permalink
      July 29, 2019 7:03 pm

      If you put a thermometer outside in direct sunlight the temperature of the thermometer will keep on increasing while the heat gained from solar radiation minus the heat lost from the thermometer is positive and it reaches about 10-15 degrees warmer than the met office official shaded air temperature . The heat of a building increase or decreases less because it has more mass even though it increases more than the outside shaded air temperature. The greenhouse effect does not take into account the idea that a larger mass adjusts less to reach equilibrium than a smaller mass and this is a problem with the green house effect who now tell us the effect mostly occurs in the atmosphere.

  8. Jonathan Drake permalink
    July 27, 2019 5:01 pm

    There was a clip on the BBC news purporting to show the Stevenson screen in question. It was, of course, taken at an angle to obscure buildings, etc. That said, from what I recall, the site looked much as one would expect, with the possible exception of a substantial bush that seemed a little close. The grass looked like it had been recently mown. Maybe the grass was cut that day? And if it was, I doubt it was cut by hand.

  9. Colin permalink
    July 27, 2019 6:29 pm

    An oft repeated complaint about the climate record is that station coverage has decreased over the last few decades. However looking at the Cambridge record and the recent record temperature near Montpellier I see a countervailing trend, an almost saturation coverage of thermometers, probably all automated. This must increase the chances of picking up an extreme reading. And of course these stations will most likely be in urban areas. If Cambridge had an additional 50 thermometers we probably would have achieved 39°C.

  10. David Parker permalink
    July 27, 2019 6:37 pm

    I have an official met office climate station. We moved the station several years ago about 70 metres to keep away from expected development. I kept the old station running to check for differences. They were very small. Buildings were erected about 40 metres away. There seemed to be a slight increase in maximum temperature. I have allowed the vegetation, mainly brambles, to grow more than usual in the last two years. Last year the maximum in low wind conditions was up to 0.8 deg higher in the old station. This year further growth has taken place. The highest difference has been 1.6 deg. Last week I cut down all the excess vegetation to the level it was originally. On Thursday the new site max was 36.2, the old site, cleared of excess brambles, was 36.1. I rest my case.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 27, 2019 7:31 pm

      Every site and situation is different, do you have enough air conditioning exhaust vents to cater for a small town – the site in question does now.

      They also now have ‘acres’ of reflective glass, concrete edifices, and hard terracing newly installed. Window reflections have been known to melt cars!

      Anyway, in a sane world such meaningless ‘records’ would mot matter, they would be of curiosity/boasting value only. But now they are propaganda tools.

  11. John Finn permalink
    July 27, 2019 6:38 pm

    If anyone has an hour or so to spare (you’ll need it) this digitised collection of weather reports from 1911 includes some interesting statistics.

    https://digital.nmla.metoffice.gov.uk/digitalFile_3302c166-38de-487e-abe3-63f93b868cf5/

    There was a severe heatwave in 1911 which lasted over 2 months from early July until mid September. During that period several locations reported temperatures in the high 90s and one actually recorded 100 deg F (I assume it wasn’t accepted).

    The point is, though, how many stations would have been approved in 1911 and if there are more to-day doesn’t it mean there is far more chance of ‘detecting’ a new record.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      July 27, 2019 7:34 pm

      The passage of time itself raises the chance of catching a low probability event.

      • John Finn permalink
        July 28, 2019 11:58 pm

        The passage of time itself raises the chance of catching a low probability event.

        Indeed. The frequency of ‘records’ should theoretically follow a log function. However, that should also apply to ‘cold’ as well as ‘hot’ records.

  12. July 27, 2019 9:44 pm

    Using the timewarp feature on google earth you can see the development of the site since 1999. It looks like the station was moved south about 40 m in 2003 to make way for the new building. Then the large building appears. On streetview it looks as if there is now a hedge about 10 m north of the station which probably acts as a tad of a suntrap.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 29, 2019 10:13 am

      Great work.

  13. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    July 27, 2019 10:10 pm

    The media have always hyped weather extremes, Tony Heller (Steve Goddard) has shown multiple examples, the difference nowadays is the stated or implied political or even quasi-religious purport.
    Looking at the CET summer series overall nothing much has happened since the mid-1700s:
    https://i1.wp.com/www.climate4you.com/images/CentralEnglandTempSince1659 1100pixel.gif

  14. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    July 27, 2019 10:18 pm

    https://i1.wp.com/www.climate4you.com/images/CentralEnglandTempSince1659 1100pixel.gif

  15. July 28, 2019 6:31 am

    The Faversham, Kent, reported maximum of 38.5 °C was rejected by RMETS –
    /
    The results of three separate and independent analyses clearly demonstrate that the maximum reading of 38.5 °C obtained at Faversham on 10 August 2003 is anomalous (approximately 2 degC too high) and cannot be easily accounted for meteorologically, climatologically, or statistically. The authors believe that other reasons must be sought to explain it*, and that the ‘Faversham maximum’ cannot be regarded as sufficiently beyond doubt to justify its continued claim to the UK national temperature record.
    /
    https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1256/wea.10.04B

  16. July 28, 2019 6:55 am

    Part 1 of the RMETS report said –
    /
    The summer of 2003 was characterised by persistent anticyclonic conditions and frequent hot weather over much of western Europe: existing national temperature records were broken in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal. In the United Kingdom, the first half of August saw a ten-day hot spell during the course of which a new UK maximum temperature record was established, namely 38.1 °C at Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens, in west London on 10 August.*
    /

    It also makes the Met Office Press release look a bit odd (to say the least) –
    /
    Temperatures yesterday reached 38.1°C in southern England, setting a new record for the highest July temperature recorded in the UK.

    The new record was set in Cambridge at 15:37 on Thursday, beating the previous record of 36.7°C set in Heathrow in 2015 and coming close to the all-time UK temperature record of 38.5°C, recorded in Faversham in August 2003.
    /
    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2019/record-breaking-heat

    There was there a question mark over the Heathrow 2015 report from the BBC (even)?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44980493

  17. July 28, 2019 7:00 am

    (Messed the previous comment – please delete)

    Part 1 of the RMETS report said –
    /
    The summer of 2003 was characterised by persistent anticyclonic conditions and frequent hot weather over much of western Europe: existing national temperature records were broken in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal. In the United Kingdom, the first half of August saw a ten-day hot spell during the course of which a new UK maximum temperature record was established, namely 38.1 °C at Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens, in west London on 10 August.*
    /
    https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1256/wea.10.04A

    It also makes the Met Office Press release look a bit odd (to say the least) –
    /
    Temperatures yesterday reached 38.1°C in southern England, setting a new record for the highest July temperature recorded in the UK.

    The new record was set in Cambridge at 15:37 on Thursday, beating the previous record of 36.7°C set in Heathrow in 2015 and coming close to the all-time UK temperature record of 38.5°C, recorded in Faversham in August 2003.
    /
    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2019/record-breaking-heat

    There is even a question mark over the Heathrow 2015 report from the BBC (UHI)
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44980493

  18. July 28, 2019 8:26 am

    If the UK does get a bit hotter what does that mean. I have lived in the Philippines it is much hotter there. The locals have got used to the heat. The houses in rural areas are built with large areas open so that the heat can dissipate. In the City or wealthier houses they use air condition units.
    I expect the few hot days we have been getting have increased sales in electric fans.
    People will dress in lighter clothes. Cardboard sun blocker on car windows.
    If there were a much longer trend in hot weather. They may make changes to house designs. Air conditioning in offices and other changes. We build more reservoirs to collect water for dryer periods.
    The point being that we can adapt to small changes that could occur gradually over time.
    But Climate Change alarmists extrapolate any fluctuations to predict catastrophic short term changes. With imaginary tipping points and run away climate change. As often as they use climate change deniers it should be countered with climate change alarmists.

  19. Oliver King permalink
    July 28, 2019 9:37 am

    Paul are you planning to challenge the Met Office over this? If they haven’t officially confirmed a record yet then knowing they’re under scrutiny would hopefully mean they will do the right thing (maybe wishful thinking). If they are going to confirm a record they will have to show that the station is properly sited.

  20. July 28, 2019 12:24 pm

    What is the Control Knob for LOCAL temperature ?
    Is it CO2 ? or wind direction ?

    What makes the 25th July temp in Cambridge high thirties this year
    and low twenties last year ?
    Surely it’s cos of the unusual winds coming off the African landmass.

    In comparing the same month in two different years for a specific location
    You see that one year you had a month with X days where the dominant wind comes from one direction,
    and in the other year Y days
    So of course the average temperatures for each of those months will be different.
    … They’ll be secondary variations due to the amount of cloud & moisture of course.

  21. July 28, 2019 12:27 pm

    While we talk about a heatwave in Europe cos it’s getting the warm wind from Africa, surely there is another area that has a COLDwave cos it is not getting its usual wind from Africa… an area of Atlantic ocean I guess

  22. Alan Fields permalink
    July 28, 2019 1:38 pm

    Paul can you tell me a) how many thermometers does the met Office monitor and b) how many recorded record temperatures during the one hot day

  23. mikewaite permalink
    July 28, 2019 6:12 pm

    Those reading the comments and analysis displayed here, who also witnessed the grinning fatuous comments from the BBC journalist last week, with the Stevenson screen in the background, will be surely amazed at the diference in objectivity between the posts here and the research carried out by individuals and the journalist . The latter never expressed any doubts about whether the result was scientifically valid, yet surely had plenty of opportunity to question the Met office personnel themselves and given the significance attributed to the result he certainly should have done.
    That this takes place in what is the centre of the greatest density of intellectual power in England, arguably the World, makes it all the more bizarre.

  24. Joe Public permalink
    July 28, 2019 7:02 pm

    As I write this, the Met Office’s Press Office page still displays:

    Provisional new record for highest temperature in UK
    Author: Press Office
    14:49 (UTC+1) on Fri 26 Jul 2019

    Following yesterday’s exceptionally hot weather, provisional figures received by the Met Office today could challenge the UK’s highest temperature on record.

    Today the Met Office observations team has received a new provisional figure of 38.7 Celsius from Cambridge University Botanic Garden. The current highest temperature on record for the UK is 38.5 Celsius, recorded in Faversham in August 2003.

    The temperature recorded yesterday at Cambridge University Botanic Garden will require quality control and analysis over the next few days and if validated, would become the highest temperature officially recorded in the UK.

    Official temperatures yesterday (Thursday 25th) reached 38.1 Celsius in Cambridge, setting a new current record for the highest July temperature.

    Dr Mark McCarthy from the National Climate Centre (NCIC) at the Met Office said:

    “As the official source of meteorological statistics for the UK, we take the quality of our recordings very seriously. We are talking about a potential new record for the highest temperature recorded in the UK and we therefore need to thoroughly investigate the observation with our partners at Cambridge University Botanic Garden through statistical analysis and by visiting, to check the site and equipment and ensure there are no potential problems.”

    “The Met Office observations team will carefully analyse this figure, along with any other readings submitted over the coming weeks and will keep the public, our partners and government updated.”

    For more on how the Met Office records and verifies temperatures, visit the Met Office blog.

    Exceptionally high temperatures have gripped large parts of central and western Europe this week, with some countries including Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands seeing their highest national temperatures on record.

    Heatwaves are extreme weather events, but research shows that with climate change they are likely to become more frequent. Met Office projections show that heatwaves with the intensity of last summer could occur on average as regularly as every other year by the middle of the century.

    Updated at 14:49 (UTC+1) on Fri 26 Jul 2019

    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2019/provisional-hottest-day-on-record

    • dave permalink
      July 28, 2019 7:11 pm

      They do not know their basic science:

      “…the sharp distinction between approximately equal numbers is devoid of physical significance in the case of numbers derived by measurement…”

      Mechanics and Heat
      Franklin and McNutt

  25. July 29, 2019 12:35 pm

    1 minute station data isn’t easy to access if at all, and one may have to resort to FOI requests? The best I could do was to find some hourly values from a third party –

    http://www.weathercast.co.uk/world-weather/weather-stations/obsid/2003940.html

  26. July 29, 2019 4:55 pm

    Cambridge still not confirmed.
    I wonder if they are saving it for a big 6pm announcement.
    They did a trailer on Radio4 on the 1 pm news

  27. It doesn't add up... permalink
    July 29, 2019 5:55 pm

    I see the Met Office have now confirmed the record. The BBC seem to be inserting it into every story.

  28. July 29, 2019 7:13 pm

    Data (sparse, but capturing the hottest part of the day) from Cambridge Marshall Airport, from here: http://www.weathercast.co.uk/world-weather/weather-stations/obsid/2003940.html

    • July 29, 2019 7:22 pm

      The maximum temperature given is 38.0, on hour marks, maximum likely a tad higher, that may be what Cambridge would have given without the UHI, but there is still the issue of how these AWS systems respond in heatwave conditions, relative to how the liquid thermometers of the past responded.

    • July 29, 2019 8:12 pm

      The hourly-mark maximum at Cambridge NIAB was a mere 37.6C:

      http://www.weathercast.co.uk/world-weather/weather-stations/obsid/99123.html

      Maybe the Met Office are playing by the rules, not adjusting for UHI, but are somewhat shy about revealing the rules.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      July 29, 2019 8:34 pm

      I noted that the wind direction at the time was roughly Southerly at the airport, and reasonably strong. 16km/h at 15:00. 22km/h at 16:00. That does make it less likely that the Botanic Garden reading was unduly influenced by aircon units to the North of it.

      I still think there is some risk that the weather station was tampered with, given the public access and existence of a hotbed of AGW devotees in the area.

  29. john cooknell permalink
    July 29, 2019 8:28 pm

    The clearest evidence of confirmation bias.

  30. July 29, 2019 9:08 pm

    The Cambridge DTG weather station on top of a roof only got to 36.1C, measured at half-hour intervals, its data are available directly from them, here is the data for the “record” day:

    https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/dtg/weather/daily-text.cgi?2019-07-25

  31. July 29, 2019 9:39 pm

    In a way it doesn’t matter because they are ‘making a stick for their own backs’ because in the words of a climatologist, who appeared on BBC or Sky, it will probably be fifteen years before we have another such heatwave at the July/August peak. In the meantime we can look forward to the typically miserable British summer.

  32. July 30, 2019 11:20 am

    Thanks for the analysis, shared on my FaceBook page and also on the BBC News’ alarmist “new UK record” post!!

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