Skip to content

BBC’s 50C Days Rubbish

September 14, 2021

By Paul Homewood

h/t Ian Magness

The BBC are now making it up as they go along!



The number of extremely hot days every year when the temperature reaches 50C has doubled since the 1980s, a global BBC analysis has found.

They also now happen in more areas of the world than before, presenting unprecedented challenges to human health and to how we live.

The total number of days above 50C (122F) has increased in each decade since 1980. On average, between 1980 and 2009, temperatures passed 50C about 14 days a year.

The number rose to 26 days a year between 2010 and 2019.

In the same period, temperatures of 45C and above occurred on average an extra two weeks a year.

"The increase can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels," says Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.


Why is the BBC now trying to do the work of climate scientists? An analysis like this should be done by experts, who would be aware of all of the problems, uncertainties and limitations of such an exercise. And it should also be properly peer reviewed. The BBC’s Mickey Mouse approach is useful for nothing more than propaganda.

Their own chart, incidentally, shows that there has been no increasing trend since 1998, which rather puts Dr Otto’s unscientific comment in perspective. No proper scientist would make such claims without proof. There is also a clear step up in the data in 1998, which should set alarm bells ringing.

But let’s look at the BBC’s methodology:


It went over 50C in my area, why is it not featured?

Reports of record temperatures usually come from measurements taken at an individual weather station, but the data we have studied represents larger areas than those covered by a single station.

For example, Death Valley National Park in southern California is one of the hottest places on Earth. Temperatures in certain parts of the park regularly pass 50C in summer. But when creating an average for maximum temperatures for the wider area, using several different sources, a figure below 50C is reached.

Where is the data from?

The BBC has used the maximum daily temperatures from the high resolution global ERA5 dataset, produced by the Copernicus Climate Change Service. The data is often used to study global climate trends.

ERA5 combines actual weather observations from many sources, such as stations and satellites, with data from modern weather forecasting models.

The process fills in gaps created by poor station coverage in many parts of the world and helps us to understand climate change.

What analysis have we done?

Using the maximum temperature for every day from 1980 to 2020, we identified how often temperatures exceeded 50C.

We counted the number of days and locations with a maximum temperature of 50C or higher for every year, to determine the trend over time.

We also looked at the change in maximum temperatures. We did this by working out the difference between the average maximum temperature over land and sea for the most recent decade (2010-2019) compared with the 30 years before (1980-2009).

Averages of at least 30 consecutive years are known as climatologies. These are used for showing how recent periods compare to a climate average.

What do we mean by ‘location’?

Each location is roughly 25 sq km, or about 27-28 sq km at the equator. These grids can cover large areas and may contain many different types of landscape. The grids are squares of 0.25 degrees latitude by 0.25 degrees longitude.

The key sentence concerns the use of ERA5, which is essentially a computer model. In other words, the BBC is not using actual data at all, merely the outworkings of a model.

Their analysis is only fit for the bin,


One of the regions particularly highlighted is Iraq, with the usual tear jerking story:


His tale however does not stand up to scrutiny, as cereal production in Iraq is much higher than it was prior to the turn of the century. Output did drop between 2014 and 2018, but even at its worst, harvests were still much better than in the 1980s, when they supposedly had a nice mild climate.

Although output fell by a half between 2014 and 2015, declines of this proportion have happened before, for instance 1972 to 1973, and 1996 to 2000. These are associated with droughts, not heat.




New Series

We should not be surprised to learn that the BBC are using this junk science to launch a new series, which doubtless will peddle more lies and misinformation:


  1. It doesn't add up... permalink
    September 14, 2021 10:20 am

    Is their chart the number of locations, or as implied by their writeup, the number of location days? For some context, they have a grid of 360x180x4x4=1,036,800 locations. So is 500 locations days that scary, given those locations are mainly uninhabited desert? Why no map of locations?

    Certainly the dataset needs serious critical review. How many new satellite recalibrations? Perhaps a job for Dr Roy Spenser, whose opinion would be rather more use than the BBC’s.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 14, 2021 10:40 am

      P.S I see the article does contain a map. But by using circles proportional to the number of incidents they manage to obliterate the entire Middle East with the implication that the whole area regularly breaches 50C. A chloropeth map with colours per quarter degree square would have revealed the truth more accurately, and would probably reveal the desert locations. It seems odd that only the Algerian Sahara near Hassi R Mel gets to 50C with the rest of the Sahara perhaps benefitting from greening? Likewise nothing in the Simpson Desert, but just a small corner around the NW Cape of Australia?

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        September 14, 2021 12:02 pm

        Haven’t seen a reference to a chloropeth map for yonks. How refreshing!

  2. Robert Christopher permalink
    September 14, 2021 10:21 am

    “In other words, the BBC is not using actual data at all, merely the outworkings of a model.”

    True ‘Climate Scientists’: they are the real deal! 🙂

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      September 14, 2021 4:15 pm

      Climastrologists, not scientists.

  3. Robert Christopher permalink
    September 14, 2021 10:22 am

    “In other words, the BBC is not using actual data at all, merely the outworkings of a model.”

    True ‘Climate Scientists’: they are the real deal! 🙂

  4. September 14, 2021 10:24 am

    It is no wonder that children are suffering from climate change anxiety when the BBC peddles this junk propaganda.

    Harrabin produces scary junk and then reports on kid’s anxiety. You couldn’t make it up.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 14, 2021 11:07 am

      You beat me to it, Phillip. I was listening to this report and felt the BBC has now become a fully-fledged propaganda arm of XR (although, one wonders quite which controls the other?). The whole report was depressing on so many different levels. When you kill hope – as the BBC seem to want to do – you enslave the minds of the hopeless.

      Although they may think they know where there going with this I fear they have not thought through the outcomes of their propaganda. It would help if it could be explained what they think their (publicly-funded) objective is: what do they want the world to look like (politically and economically) in, say, 50 years’ time? We should be told – or they should be defunded.

  5. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 14, 2021 10:37 am

    400 areas of 25km2 is 10,000km2. The surface area of the earth is 510 million km2. It’s around 4% of the are of the UK.

    So a percentage of the surface area that is pretty much negligible.

    An utter joke, designed to fool people who have no idea of the context of such dross.

    • dave permalink
      September 14, 2021 5:26 pm

      “…people who have no idea…”

      About one-third of the adult population and two-thirds of the school children, then.
      It has been made far too easy for the priests of this blazing-eyes religion.

      Meanwhile, the linked paper below is interesting. It is abstruse but – bottom line – you can predict major El Ninos from the magnetic activity of the sun several decades earlier. Whether or not that is actually true, the mere fact that the data can support such a hypothesis hardly fits with the mind-set of the present orthodoxy that the science is all “settled” and “the White Man” is the Snake in the Garden of Eden.

  6. James Neill permalink
    September 14, 2021 10:46 am

    Having just done a little digging some interesting observations:-

    1). The Copernicus Climate Change Service is run by the EU for the EU.
    2). The ERA 5 data set is a re/back survey of existing data homogenised into a land grid of specific size.

    Ore-body mineral surveys use a similar technique which has its uses and limitations depending on the ore-body. Temperature is a dynamic data quantity not a static one.

    I would also note there are no real-world fixed data points to attach their calculated dataset too. In short how relevant is it?

    As a side-note Paul why do you feel that the survey is worthless?

    • dave permalink
      September 14, 2021 5:29 pm

      With ore bodies you are interested in striking it rich, in as small and concentrated a location as possible. With Climate you are not interested in intensely local features – or should not be.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 15, 2021 8:59 am

      A high temperature in one location is often matched by a low temperature in another location – atmospheric energy is not uniformly distributed. Thus all this survey might be doing is showing that variation has increased, not total energy, because it doesn’tshow if there were coincident colder locations. And if the modelling assumes that energy can/has increased when it has not (or by a lesser amount) then it will simply be wrong. But unlike ore bodies, we will never know and so the modelling is neither tested nor does it have any way of improving.

  7. Gerry, England permalink
    September 14, 2021 10:57 am

    More climate hysteria ahead of COP26. This is usual but I think there is more desperation this time such that you could almost believe they know a cold period is coming.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 14, 2021 11:12 am

      “…they know a cold period is coming.”

      As I’ve said before, I’m sure they do know that, which is why they want to get so many of their plans into operation asap. That way, when the cold does come they can point to their plans and say, ‘see, we told you so. Carbon is the villain of the piece – and we have saved the day.’

  8. Up2snuff permalink
    September 14, 2021 11:08 am

    “Funny, I thought. I thought funny: all those hot spots are around the Equator. Now, what do I know that those scientists apparently do not? Ummh, let me see. My pint isn’t full. Pete must have drunk some. No. It’s not that. I keep getting funny dreams. No. That can’t be it. An unpublished novel by Simone de Beauvoir has been found. No. It’s not that.”

    “The globe is hot at the Equator! That’s it. ‘ere Pete, I’ve had a Eureka moment”

    “You haven’t smelled good for years, Dud. Would you like to borrow some after-shave?”

  9. Cheshire Red permalink
    September 14, 2021 11:22 am

    BBC are effectively a misinformation media outlet. This is propaganda, plain and simple.

  10. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 14, 2021 11:28 am

    What is the significance of 40 years worth of unreliable (i.e. AlGorised) data in the climate history of the world: how hot was it in the MWP etc?

    HH Lamb would be amazed at what now passes for “climate science”!

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      September 16, 2021 5:34 pm

      Mike Hulme has an interesting piece on his site ( where he is interviewed by Hans Von Storch where he says this about Lamb.

      “Hubert Lamb left UK Met Office in 1871 and established CRU at UEA. UEA offered some start up money which matched funds he had already secured from oil and gas company Shell…….Lamb also displayed a degree of scepticism about the importance of greenhouse gases for altering climate versus the natural mechanisms working on the climate.”

      • Dave Andrews permalink
        September 17, 2021 2:59 pm

        OOPS! 1971 not 1871

  11. September 14, 2021 11:35 am

    Not coming any time soon: a BBC report telling us why Arctic summer sea ice failed to live up to their ‘gone forever’ hysteria, quoting assorted know-it-all pundits.

  12. miket permalink
    September 14, 2021 11:50 am

    Hmmm, if you accept this chart Dr Otto, how does your 100% caused by fossil fuels fit with two 20 year periods with no increasing trend. Indeed 1980 to 2000 would appear to show a decrease if anything.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 15, 2021 9:02 am

      Yes, beware claims made by decades – a favourite of Alarmists. The chart clearly shows a non-linear relationship to CO2 and suggests something else is responsible.

  13. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 14, 2021 12:05 pm

    The BBC have learned that by saying “Scientists say” etc they can cover counter claims. This is like the legal use of “Expert Witnesses”; where the expertise is determined by a non-technical judge, (often by the height of the paperwork submitted hence the meaning of Ph.D. = Piled high and Deep).

    What the BBC are really saying is “We choose to believe the scientists who say what we want, we reject any scientists who disagree with our opinions”.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      September 14, 2021 9:25 pm

      I read the phase as meaning “we know someone claiming to be a scientist who said…”

  14. mervhob permalink
    September 14, 2021 12:13 pm

    The methodology is deeply flawed but highlights something that rang alarm bells with me in the series, ‘H20, the molecule that made us.’ It highlighted the abuse of freshwater aquifers and showed that Saudi Arabia and other countries had been pumping out vast quantities of fresh water from its subterranean aquifers to, ‘make the desert bloom’. It also showed that only 10% of the water so applied goes into crops, so where does the rest go? Very obviously into the troposphere. And water vapour is a much more effective greenhouse gas than CO2. Saudi Arabia has dumped a total volume equivalent to Lake Erie and totally depleted its aquifers and has now moved operations to Arizona!
    Dumping that much water onto what is a hotplate obviously has an effect on the local climate. Now correlation is not causation but the localised correlation of high temperature with this practice suggests a strong potential local effect. This practice has also been widely practiced in California, where again, huge quantities of water have been pumped out of aquifers. Those of us that have lived in the tropics know that high humidity drives high local temperatures but this seems to have escaped the arts graduate ‘luvvies’ at the BBC. It has puzzled me for some time, that if CO2 was the sole driver of climate change, then tropical temperatures would see the greatest increase and the greatest change in weather and wind patterns. As Paul’s careful analysis of historical data shows, this has not been the case and we have to look for alternative causative effects. The vast quantities of groundwater involved in this agricultural practice, of very poor efficiency and limited efficacy must have some short term effect. Saudi Arabia has destroyed its groundwater reserves in less than two decades, the same process is going on in America and Australia, the Aral sea has been severely depleted, the Amazon forest has been severely degraded, the list is growing. Stop blaming CO2 and start blaming human population pressures and bad resource management!

  15. David Cox permalink
    September 14, 2021 12:20 pm

    Plant some trees in a major city and the local temperature drops 6 degrees! Urban Heat Island anyone?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      September 14, 2021 2:26 pm

      I watched a news report yesterday, most likely on the BBC, about someone in India advocating the growing “city forests” in order to reduce the UHI effect. UHI wasn’t actually mentioned during the item as far as I recall, but I had mentally switched the TV off.

  16. dennisambler permalink
    September 14, 2021 1:47 pm

    “The increase can be 100% attributed to the burning of fossil fuels,” says Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

    Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Trained at the ultra-alarmist Potsdam Institute, founded by John Schellenhuber, (climate adviser to the Pope), currently headed by Otto Edenhofer, (not about climate any more, its about wealth redistribution, Cancun 2010) and Johann Rockstrom, a “tipping point” proponent.

    She is now at the ECI with Myles Allen, working on “Attribution Studies”, in other words, who can we sue for billions because of “climate change”.

  17. TerryS permalink
    September 14, 2021 2:34 pm

    The step change in 1998 coincides withe launch of NOAA-15 satellite. This was the first of the Advanced TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (ATOVS). They are used to measure temperature using microwaves.

  18. Dr Ken Pollock permalink
    September 14, 2021 2:38 pm

    Building on mervhob’s piece, a couple of anecdotes from my experience. 1. Visiting Israel in 1983, the locals scorned the Arab method of irrigation using open ditches – lots of evaporation, as in S Arabia. But their method of trickle irrigation in plastic pipes was much more expensive, no doubt relying on USA money.
    2. Thames Water people visited me in Newcastle to suggest they send their sewage sludge to the middle east, in empty oil tankers, to increase organic matter in their soil. Agreed, except high temperatures would mean the organic matter oxidised quickly, so no lasting improvement in the soil. Check out Broadbalk at Rothamsted: 180 years of organic matter applied annually and % increase in the soil? 1% per year – in England!
    Life is complicated, unless you work for the BBC…

  19. John Minnock permalink
    September 14, 2021 3:32 pm

    Also on the subject Paul. This BBC Scotland article also appeared as a disguised global warming/warning, I’m glad the author is here to appreciate global warming in Scotland?

  20. September 14, 2021 4:28 pm

    I can believe the result, but it is highly misleading, using a threshold to big-up a tiny change in temperature from 49.9 to 50.1C. A similar trick can be done for daily CET, which shows that days above 30C are now more common than before 1990, but does anyone noticed the difference between 29.5 and 30.5C? The increase in heatwaves pales before the decrease in cold ones.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      September 14, 2021 5:14 pm

      This will be on the BBC tonight: “More over 30 C days in the UK in the last decade… experts say consistent with climate change”

    • Broadlands permalink
      September 14, 2021 6:48 pm

      How can those who notice the small 6% difference between 14.0°C in 1900 and 14.83°C in 2016 believe it was caused by a 150% increase in man-made CO2? It should have been much greater, should it not?

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        September 16, 2021 8:48 pm

        Its not 6%!

        In Kelvin its 287.15 versus 287.98 degrees, a difference of 0.3%.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 15, 2021 9:16 am

      Exactly what I was thinking. A chart of actual temperatures in those locations would show virtually nothing. And if you instead counted the number of days between say 45 and 51 degrees it would show absolutely nothing. It is basic p hacking, finding a number that gives a scary result when in fact the change is insignificant and the threshold arbitrary. And I imagine the model has a reasonably large error margin anyway so the results are junk.

  21. tom0mason permalink
    September 14, 2021 5:12 pm


    Born in Kiel, Germany, in 1982, Friederike Elly Luise Otto graduated in physics from the University of Potsdam before earning a PhD in philosophy of science from the Free University of Berlin in 2012.[3] She has worked at the ECI since 2011 when she began to investigate the impact of weather events on climate change.[8] In her role as co-leader of World Weather Attribution, she has been able to influence the international development of climate change strategies.[1][9] In connection with Hurricane Harvey in 2017, she concluded that it caused between 12% and 22% of additional rainfall to fall on Houston. She has also maintained that there is little doubt Hurricane Laura in 2020 was the result of climate change effects.[10][11] She believes that such attribution reports will help to persuade governments to adopt measures aimed at creating more carbon-neutral communities.[12]

    The approach to event attribution she codeveloped has become routine within the climate community. It was assessed as mature in the 2021 IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, in contrast to the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, in which it was concluded that the scientific methods to attribute individual extreme events to climate change were not yet fit-for-purpose. Otto works together with lawyers in lawsuit that seek compensation for victims of extreme events from companies and governments with historical responsibility for climate change.[15]

    So now the IPCC is now grasping at Dr. Friederike Otto straws to find relevance in our cooling climate.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 15, 2021 9:19 am

      Attribution studies are total junk. The ultimate scientific logical fallacy – Begging the Question. You can only work out an attribution if you assume there is attribution.

      They are simply calculating the effect of their assumptions. It’s preposterous.

      • tom0mason permalink
        September 15, 2021 8:27 pm

        At best these attribution studies pitch a computer modeled planet (that is supposed to be the Earth but isn’t) without human generated industrial CO2, against a computer modeled planet with human generated industrial CO2.
        In otherwords it is climate model against climate model, or more accurately virtualized unverified or validated, climate assumptions against another group of virtualized unverified or validated, antiscience assumptions.
        Idiots vs Fools!

  22. fretslider permalink
    September 14, 2021 6:04 pm

    The BBC is a travesty

    The propaganda service

  23. Broadlands permalink
    September 14, 2021 6:58 pm

    “The process fills in gaps created by poor station coverage in many parts of the world and helps us to understand climate change.”

    That’s exactly what the “global” temperature data do…make estimates. This from Phil Jones (HadleyCRU) in 2009:

    “These areas include large areas of the Southern Oceans, parts of the Antarctic, the central Arctic, central Greenland etc. To get values for these areas you have to make estimates and these introduce errors. Lapse rate estimates have to be used for mountainous regions such as Tibet and Greenland.”

    that helps us understand climate change, unless you choose to ignore it…or adjust it?

  24. Dr Tim Ball - Historical Climatologist permalink
    September 14, 2021 9:14 pm

    Dr Tim Ball – Historical Climatologist
    Book: ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’
    Book: ‘Human Caused Global Warming, the Biggest Deception in History’

  25. Peter permalink
    September 15, 2021 2:24 am

    “the BBC are using this junk science to launch a new series”

    IMHO… For the launch of a new series, the BBC has created this PR-campaign.

  26. September 15, 2021 3:45 pm

    The Laura Tobin Norway trip is hysterical
    as ever I put notes over on CliScep Open Mic

  27. avro607 permalink
    September 15, 2021 6:17 pm

    Excellent writings Dr. Tim.Much appreciated

  28. iggie permalink
    September 15, 2021 9:36 pm

    Since 1910 Australia has recorded only four 50+ days – one in 1939, two in 1960 and one in 1998. The 50+ degree in WA on the BBC’s map is probably the adjusted temp from the BoM’s ACORN data series (which keeps changing as they feel fit).

    The world’s highest official temp was in 1913 in Death Valley (which I believe they are trying to discredit).

  29. pjmacha permalink
    September 16, 2021 3:57 am

    Ed Berry says 25% due to fossil fuels…no doubt less as concs increase due to log response curve.

  30. September 18, 2021 7:03 am

    As a veteran of working in southern Iraq (not military, oil and gas) from 2012-2018 I can vouch for the fact that the droughts experienced there are nothing to do with climate change, and everything to do with the Turks damming the Tigris leading to water shortages downstream. There are days over 50C in Iraq every summer. Just like there were days over 50C in Oman every summer when I was there between 2008-2012. I don’t have the scientific expertise to debunk the BBC cobblers in the same way as a lot of the contributors here (I wish I did) but I have sufficient ‘lived experience’ to recognise Harrabin-esque climate alarmism when I see it.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: