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Throwing cold water on extreme heat hype

August 9, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t bisto52


The founder of AccuWeather throws cold water on extreme heat hype:


A story came to my attention recently that merited comment. It appeared in London’s The Telegraph, and was headlined, “Give heat waves names so people take them more seriously, say experts, as Britain braces for hottest day.”

The story’s leaping-off point was a press release from the London School of Economics (LSE), which noted, “A failure by the media to convey the severity of the health risks from heat waves, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change, could undermine efforts to save lives this week as temperatures climb to dangerous levels.”

It added, “So how can the media be persuaded to take the risks of heat waves more seriously? Perhaps it is time … to give heat waves names [as is done] for winter storms.”

We disagree with some of the points being made.

First, and most important, we warn people all the time in plain language on our apps and on about the dangers of extreme heat, as well as all hazards. Furthermore, that is the reason we developed and patented the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature and our recently expanded AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature Guide, to help people maximize their health, safety and comfort when outdoors and prepare and protect themselves from weather extremes. The AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature Guide is the only tool that properly takes into account all atmospheric conditions and translates them into actionable behavior choices for people.

Second, although average temperatures have been higher in recent years, there is no evidence so far that extreme heat waves are becoming more common because of climate change, especially when you consider how many heat waves occurred historically compared to recent history.

New York City has not had a daily high temperature above 100 degrees since 2012, and it has had only five such days since 2002. However, in a previous 18-year span from 1984 through 2001, New York City had nine days at 100 degrees or higher. When the power went out in New York City earlier this month, the temperature didn’t even get to 100 degrees – it was 95, which is not extreme. For comparison, there were 12 days at 95 degrees or higher in 1999 alone.

Kansas City, Missouri, for example, experienced an average of 18.7 days a year at 100 degrees or higher during the 1930s, compared to just 5.5 a year over the last 10 years. And over the last 30 years, Kansas City has averaged only 4.8 days a year at 100 degrees or higher, which is only one-quarter of the frequency of days at 100 degrees or higher in the 1930s.

Here is a fact rarely, if ever, mentioned: 26 of the 50 states set their all-time high temperature records during the 1930s that still stand (some have since been tied). And an additional 11 state all-time high temperature records were set before 1930 and only two states have all-time record high temperatures that were set in the 21st century (South Dakota and South Carolina).

So 37 of the 50 states have an all-time high temperature record not exceeded for more than 75 years. Given these numbers and the decreased frequency of days of 100 degrees or higher, it cannot be said that either the frequency or magnitude of heat waves is more common today.

Full article here.

  1. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 9, 2019 6:25 pm

    It will be interesting to see what lies get told about the reasons for the major power cut now affecting London and the South East. Grid transmission failure is being blamed. Rail networks seem to have been badly affected.

    South Australians will know the feeling.

    • August 9, 2019 11:03 pm

      Hornsea wind farm went offline, plus a few other generating problems.

  2. dave permalink
    August 9, 2019 7:08 pm

    I happened to be looking at these records, for both highs and lows, today. It is lovely, raw data, which is safe from mucking-around by pseudo-science’s witch-doctors and cannot be vanished away! And I also found the records for Canadian provinces, so that the history of whole of the North American Continent can be considered for 120 years.

    Simply put, both high and low records were set mostly in the period 1901 to 1950, partly in the period 1951 to 2000, and hardly at all in the 19th and 21st centuries This is consistent with a steady base climate combined with a cycle in variability. It is not consistent with a steadily warming. base climate and minor or unchanging variability.

    There was a severe breakdown in the UK National Electricity Grid today – while wind was supplying 27% of the power.. We warned them and warned them and warned them, did we not?

    They say the drop in frequency started at 16:55. A porky! I had a brief power failure at 15:00 – two hours earlier. It was already starting to fall over then.

    Will renewables be blamed in the inevitable arse-covering scramble?. Fat chance.

    I have gas, both piped and in bottles, and wood for the fires. I think the phrase is, “I’m all right, Jack!” .

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 9, 2019 9:42 pm

      STOR was in operation at various points throughout yesterday as well as today. They were definitely having problems, because demand is not that high at this time of year.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 10, 2019 11:02 am

      That time seems spot on to me compared to other quotes saying 6.30pm. As I entered CityThameslink at about that time I heard an announcement that the up train had a fault and would not be moving. Then the board started showing down services as delayed – never a good sign if no amount of delay is shown. Then there was an announcement of the power problems knocking out the 700 series trains. At Blackfriars there were Kent services from the terminating platforms but a queue of up trains. I ended up leaving London Bridge over an hour late on a diesel. There were other services and bear in mind that with a complete failure there are no signals so even diesels can’t run.

      It has been said that summer was a more likely time for this kind of failure as unreliable generation makes up a greater percentage of the output. Seems like it was the frequency drop that triggered the wider failure.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 9, 2019 7:09 pm

    O/T and far too early to be making guesses, probably barking up the wrong tree, but the near 0 to 10+ GW swing in wind energy in under 24hrs is probably the biggest wind swing the grid has ever had to cope with? Just saying……….. The output from Rampion alone must have shot up in an hour this afternoon judging by the sudden change in the wind here.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 9, 2019 7:12 pm

      Ah Dave beat me by a minute, great minds……..

  4. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 9, 2019 7:34 pm

    Another O/T.

    Remember Ghoramara, expert confirms the deception I mentioned in O/T comment last March.

    But how will we ever stop the BBC getting away with this time and time again?

  5. August 9, 2019 7:59 pm

    The 5 Minute generation data would suggest that at around 16.00 GMT, (when they had to start the OCGT’s) they had lost a CCGT generator (375 MW) followed by wind farm(s) (859 MW).

    The frequency transient may have initiated load shedding because (the remaining) wind generators provide little or no reserve. Given the scale of the incident they will eventually have to provide a technical report.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 9, 2019 8:03 pm

      I was suspecting a windfarm tripped out/deliberately curtailed due to high wind – time will tell.

  6. August 9, 2019 8:34 pm

    Scunthorpe OK : no sign of power cuts around here,
    but then we are quite close to various power plants.

  7. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 9, 2019 8:38 pm

    I’ve had a look at the Gridwatch data. There was a radical frequency dip recorded at 15:55 GMT to below 49Hz, which would have triggered widespread load shedding. However, that seems to be completely out of sync with significant recorded changes in generation. At 16:05 GMT Dinorwig was evidently in action with almost 1GW of pumped hydro offsetting an apparent simultaneous sharp drop in wind generation of about 850MW. It seems unlikely that these events were so widely separated.

    The idea put about by National Grid that they “lost a couple of generators” seems to be somewhat disingenuous. Links to major offshore wind farms – possibly. I also checked their own data here,

    which has timing differences with Gridwatch, but which confirms the sudden switch between offshore wind and Dinorwig. Since they are probably at very different points in the grid, electricity flows may have been substantially re-routed, potentially overloading links and giving rise to blackout trips.

    A search here:

    throws up an unplanned outage at Hornsea WF at 16:00 and another at Little Bar CCGT (727MW capacity near St Neots, but no evidence about its operation at the moment) just before. Hornsea does look big enough to have caused the problems. It feeds into the grid at Killingholme on the Humber.

    Questions should go to Oersted as owners of Hornsea, and Innogy at Little Bar.

    STOR had a good day:

  8. August 9, 2019 8:40 pm

    “Now Resolved”
    SkyNews @UKPowerNetworks says large parts of London and the South East, as well as parts of the Midlands, are without electricity after a #powercut – affecting train services and traffic lights.

    CutNpaster Emily says
    \\Today’s #powercut appears to have been caused by problems at Little Barford gas-fired power station in Bedfordshire
    and Hornsea offshore wind farm off Yorkshire,
    which both failed around the same time, according to industry experts at @enappsys //

  9. August 9, 2019 9:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  10. August 9, 2019 9:49 pm

    The 15 second frequency data shows it dropped to 48.889 Hz at 15:43:45 which confirms that there wasn’t sufficient generation to meet demand and automatic load shedding would have occurred.

    • Tonyb permalink
      August 9, 2019 10:10 pm

      Bbc online reported that the main problem was a wind farm shutting down.

      Just been listening to the main bbc 10 o’clock news and it mentions two power generators going down but no mention at all of the wind farm until the very last minute of the 12 minutes of reports


    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 9, 2019 11:36 pm

      The timing discrepancies in the various reports smack to me of attempts at cover up. The Little Bar outage is formally recorded as starting at 15:57:40, which looks like an automated and correct report. The Hornsea Wind Farm outage is recorded at a very unlikely 16:00:00, and reported only well afterwards. The other puzzle is the disconnect between times of outage/frequency disturbance, and the alleged generation record.

      I have the frequency dropping sharply at 15:52:45 to 49.248Hz, reaching nadir of 48.889Hz at 15:53:45, and not recovering into the grid preferred band of 50+/-0.15Hz until 15:56:30. By statute they are supposed to keep within +/-0.5Hz, so this will generate a slap on the wrist from OFGEM. 15 second data makes it hard to estimate RoCoF.

      Unfortunately we will have to wait a week before we can try looking at plant output here

      The information we have suggests that Little Bar was only running at 50%, so is unlikely to have been responsible for causing a wider trip on its own. There is a major transmission line that runs from Keadby near Killingholme via West Burton and Cottam (once a major coal station!) down to St Neots. It seems likely that power was flowing South from Killingholme towards London and the SE. If that flow stopped, it would leave Little Bar suddenly struggling to meet additional demand to the North. It all points to the wind farm and its grid connection as the originator of the problem.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 10, 2019 11:09 am

        Trains were running at Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Blackfriars so the failure applied north of there starting with the Core from Blackfriars up to St Pancras. It certainly hit Thameslink at 1655.

  11. August 9, 2019 10:09 pm

    They deserve all the flak they get because earlier they had tweeted –

    “NEW WIND RECORD! According to the Electricity System Operator @ng_eso, at 5am this morning metered transmission wind was generating 47.6% of GB electricity. Additional wind connecting directly to local networks make it highly likely wind was powering over 50% for the first time!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      August 9, 2019 11:44 pm

      The evidence is that they were sailing too close to the wind on grid inertia…

    • August 10, 2019 7:06 am

      If over 50% of the electricity is coming from asynchronous generators (wind), then the grid is in a very precarious state and is vulnerable to any large generator falling over.

      Perhaps our latest energy minister (whoever the current incumbent is) ought to be made aware of this and should be issuing warnings to all consumers that we have entered a new era of blackouts.

      All those previous energy ministers were correct when they said that blackouts would not be occurring on their watch – they kept on kicking the can down the road for the next minister to deal with.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        August 10, 2019 9:40 am

        You and your facts. Believe in green, you heretic! 😇

  12. August 9, 2019 10:14 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Very much worth a read and prescient with the current moral panic over 5000!!

  13. The Man at the Back permalink
    August 9, 2019 10:16 pm

    The link to the full article doesn’t work for me, but I am on the iPad at present.

  14. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 9, 2019 11:42 pm

    Apologies to Paul: we’ve hijacked his thread. But I hope we’ve managed to throw some cold water on offshore wind farms instead – he did an excellent job of throwing cold water on heat hype in his article.

  15. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 10, 2019 12:49 am

    There is an interesting chart or two in this presentation on RoCoF (rate of change of frequency) and grid inertia from National Grid in 2016:

    Slide 3 shows a chart of the relationship between RoCoF and inertia and loss of generation at various levels. This event produced of the order of 0.5Hz/sec+ RoCoF, which put it at the extreme left of the dark green curve. That is at inertia of around 50 GVA.s, or under 2 seconds at 30GW demand level. Sailing close to the wind isn’t even in it. It’s off the scale of what they planned for (slide 4). Slide 10 reveals that they proposed that existing synchronous generators (i.e. stations providing inertia like CCGT) should set a trip at 0.5Hz/s RoCoF. It looks like that is what tripped Little Bar.

    RoCoF estimated from this chart which is based on 1 second frequency data

    It’s easy to see the steep initial drop, associated with the main loss from the wind farm, before a little recovery from the grid and the final descent as Little Bar was tripped.

  16. August 10, 2019 4:35 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

    • dave permalink
      August 10, 2019 8:25 am

      Seems like Chernobyl. A deliberate running of risk. The wind was well forecast, and they tried as an experiment shutting down most of the gas generators to get a nice headline about how ‘Britain runs on wind!’

      I came down to a defrosting fridge. Something tripped again last night!

      Of course, the meme is already working its magic. Headlines connect the problem to ‘wild weather’ and so it is all the fault of CO2 again.

      The power output this morning seems well below normal. Am I right?

      • dave permalink
        August 11, 2019 7:59 am

        “Apologies to Paul…”

        I [sic] made a relevant, immediate comment, and reported some personal calculations on historical heat extremes (more exactly, recorded temperatures) in North America. But then I went and mentioned the blackout! Obviously nobody was interested in the first part of my comment.

        Also, nobody seemed to notice my comment that there was clear evidence the system was falling over, two hours BEFORE the big cut. Circuits started tripping out in my rural bit of the South East, my kitchen circuit died, and the alarm in the Village Hall activated.

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