The climate Thermageddonites got their U.K. heat record of 40°C in the end, courtesy of a measuring device in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The BBC noted on Radio 4 last night that the record temperature arose in the “village” but co-ordinates on the Met Office site place the device halfway down the runway at RAF Coningsby, home of two squadrons of frontline, combat ready squadrons and a training base for Typhoon pilots. In joint second place, perhaps to nobody’s great surprise, was Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in the world.
The last two days in England were very hot, probably the hottest for over 100 years, although the possible distortions caused by urban heat (and jet afterburners!) need to be taken into account in the surface record. On the Radio 4 late news, BBC meteorologist Ben Rich explained that the heat was caused by southerly winds bringing hot air from the Sahara. The wind direction then changed to the west, and by the time he spoke on Tuesday evening, the rain was falling in London and the temperature had plunged 20°C. This of course was the sound scientific reason for the high temperatures, although science was laid to one side at the end when Rich said it “feels like a tipping point”.
In a similar emotional outburst, the serial Covid lockdown campaigner Piers Morgan told his audience on TalkTV that if we are not very careful, “we are heading for an apocalypse”. Also signed onto the apocalypse theme was London Mayor Sadiq Khan. He pulled the ‘things were much colder in the old days’ line, by telling Nick Robinson on Wednesday’s Today programme that when he was growing up, “you had heatwaves every 20 years”.
Brendan O’Neill captured the hysterical wittering with an entertaining article for the Spectator. Is anyone else tiring of all this green nonsense, he asked. “There is something medieval about it. There is something creepily pre-modern in the idea that sinful mankind has brought heat and fire and floods upon himself with his wicked, hubristic behaviour. What next – plagues of locusts as a punishment for our failure to recycle?” O’Neill noted the thoughts of the Guardian Environment Editor who claimed we were as “guilty as hell”. He sounded like “one of those crackpot millenarian preachers you’d see on street corners in the old days”.
Certainly the recent heatwave has been manna from heaven for the climate alarmists. They have played it for everything it is worth in their pursuit of the command-and-control Net Zero agenda. But using a change of wind direction to argue that the climate is undergoing long-term change that is primarily caused by humans is unscientific nonsense-on-stilts. As I have often noted, there is not a single credible science paper that provides proof to support this political opinion.
But the emotional cherry-picking is now off the chart. Needless to say, no publicity was given in the mainstream media to the recent news that the tropics recorded their coolest June for 22 years, according to accurate satellite recordings. In addition, it was the ninth coolest June in the 44-year satellite record. The news is unsurprising, since recent warming in the tropics has been much less than the northern hemisphere. Move all the way down to the South Pole and one finds barely any temperature movement over the last 40 years and probably long before that. Overall, the latest satellite record shows that the pause in global temperatures continues, and now extends to almost eight years.
Back in the northern hemisphere, and moving swiftly on from the ‘Britain on fire’ headlines, there seems little appetite to report that Arctic ice continues to make a measurable comeback. As of the middle of the Arctic summer on July 17th, the extent of the ice was the highest since 2015, and overall was the thirteenth lowest in the satellite record, meaning 12 years have had lower sea ice by this point.
As can be seen in the graph above, the decline rate of the sea ice extent is not far off the 1981-2010 average and well above 2012. Furthermore, as Europe warmed through July, air temperatures at 2,500 feet plunged on the Eurasian side of the Arctic up to the North Pole. Generally they were around 3-6°C lower than average.
None of this proves the world is getting hotter, or colder, due to humans burning fossil fuel. Like the recent brief U.K. heatwave, natural forces provide a reasonable explanation for such events. As the Daily Sceptic explained recently, the Arctic is subject to regular ocean oscillations that pump warmer waters into the area on a regular basis. These are known as the Atlantic Multidecadal and Pacific Decadal Oscillations. These appear to work on around a 70-80 year basis. The last high point, with considerable loss of sea ice, was in the 1930s, and observations going back to the beginning of the 19th century give some support to the trend.
Apocalypse denied – as Mr O’Neill advises, “It’s sunny. Go outside. Sit in the shade. Have an ice-cream”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor