Already the official forecasts of temperatures reaching over 40°C have started to drop. The forecasts are the work of super computers and climate models, and their work is done. Population scared and headlines of imminent climate Thermageddon written. But let us now return to Planet Reality. The temperature might top 40°C somewhere this Monday or Tuesday. No doubt some thermometer blasted by jet exhaust, or conveniently sited in an urban setting with lots of reflecting glass and stone, can be found to produce the magic number. But, as ever, the response is – so what? A hot day is a product of meteorological events. There is not one paper in the science world that has conclusively linked single weather events to long-term climate change.
Climate change is like capitalism. It is the aggregation of countless events and transactions. You can pick one single capital transaction and argue capitalism is doomed or evil. You can pick one heatwave and argue, as London mayor Sadiq Khan did, that it is a “very serious consequence of climate change”. But you don’t have science on your side – it is mere personal political opinion.
Any serious scientific discussion of climate change has to focus on long-term trends. The last significant heatwave scare in the U.K. was in July 2019, when an alleged record of 38.7°C was claimed in the middle of the City of Cambridge. The record is constantly publicised, although some doubts remain about its validity. Less well reported is the fact that the 9.17°C average temperature in the 2010 decade in the U.K. was colder than the previous 10 years at 9.31°C. And as we have seen in numerous articles in the Daily Sceptic, this is just one indication that global warming has been running out of steam for over 20 years.
In fact, the average temperature in England for the month of July 2019 at 17.5°C was comparable to the 17.2°C in both 1900 and 1910, and actually colder than the 17.6°C of 1911 and 17.7°C of 1921.
Looking in detail at the average maximum temperature in July, it is difficult to discern a long-term march towards Thermageddon. Since the ending of the ‘mini ice age’ around the beginning of the 19th century, temperatures have probably risen about 1°C. We must say ‘probably’ these days, because the uncertainties of surface global measurements are becoming all too obvious. Given the generally helpful 1°C rise, it would be expected that average maximum temperatures would rise by a similar amount, and over 130 years this is what appears to have happened. But the record also shows that slightly higher maximums started to be seen during a period of global cooling in the mid 1970s. That noted, similar highs, as we have seen, were recorded in the early part of the century. Remove about a dozen of the high outliers spread over the entire period, and the record becomes much more consistent.
Now let’s take a look at the days of sunshine recorded in July. This is relevant since the sun is generally at its hottest when it is unobscured by clouds. There have been a few more hours of sunshine of late, but the record going back to the 1920s shows that the current amounts we see were not uncommon at that time. And again we can see that a trend towards slightly higher amounts started in the late 1960s, when the Earth was cooling slightly and carbon dioxide levels were lower. If the current heatwave is caused by climate change, how do we explain the glorious summer of 1976?
On Sunday, Toby reported on a recent survey in the Lancet Planetary Health which noted that between 2000 and 2019 there were an average of 65,000 excess deaths every year in England and Wales associated with cold, but fewer than 800 a year associated with heat. In other words, he noted, 80 times more annual deaths were associated with cold than heat. He also noted that these excess heat deaths were blamed on ‘climate change’ in general, but nothing was said about the likelihood of the 65,000 figure increasing next winter as a result of rising energy bills – a consequence, in large part, of the fanatical push for Net Zero.
Weaponising weather is now the main armament in the fight to promote the command-and-control Net Zero project. It is highly emotional, has a superficial ‘ring of truth’ about it, and seems to speak to a deep need within the human psyche to take seriously warnings of impending doom. Whatever happens in the near future, come rain or shine, the climate alarmists will be there to remind us we are all going to hell in a handcart.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor