It was a tad on the warm side last year in the United Kingdom. There was, for instance, a new turbo-charged 60-second high temperature record declared on July 19th, halfway down the runway at the jet fighter base of RAF Coningsby. Climate journalists were in full Thermogeddon reporting mode. It is almost a shame to bring facts and statistics to the party, although the poopers might note that there has been no change in average U.K. temperatures for more than two decades, following the short rise during the 1980s and 90s. Furthermore, the 10°C average temperature last year was only a rounding error higher than 2014. No change in the decades-long average temperature is indicated by the fact that the current 10-year running average in the U.K. is still no higher than it was between 1998 and 2007 at 9.4°C.
The above graph was compiled by the climate journalist Paul Homewood for his annual U.K. weather report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). He further notes that annual temperatures last year were well within the bounds of natural variability, being 0.82°C above the 30-year average. By comparison, 2010 was 0.92°C below, whilst several other years have had bigger anomalies than 2022.
As we have seen in past Daily Sceptic articles, the key misunderstanding in much climate discourse is between weather events, often described as ‘extreme’, and climate trends. Overall global warming has been running out of steam for two decades. Homewood could have noted that the 2010s in the U.K. were actually cooler than the 2000s. But headlines and click-bait science papers designed to promote the collectivist Net Zero project dumb down on weather stories, even attempting to attribute individual events to long-term climatic changes. Perhaps this is not surprising, since many take their lead from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that holds the implausible view that all changes in the climate since 1900 have been caused by humans. This of course is the same IPCC that was set up in 1988 to look into the “scientific basis” of the risk of human-induced climate change.
In a separate note for the GWPF, the former BBC science editor Dr. David Whitehouse recently noted that most environmental journalists habitually report verbatim the ‘weather is climate‘ scam. “If financial organisations or Treasury officials played around with predictions like this they would almost certainly come in for a dose of criticism and further probing from proper journalists,” he observed. Giving a recent example, he noted an unquestioning attitude towards the World Meteorological Organisation that observed natural variability in any coming El Niño warming, but also said the rise would show “global warming is accelerating”.
In his excellent review, Homewood is using the Met Office’s own recordings. But again as we have seen, legitimate scientific questions can be asked about the accuracy of these temperature measurements. The Met Office frequently promotes temperature ‘records’ at airports like Coningsby, Heathrow and Northolt, but these areas are filled with concrete, tarmac, machinery and jet exhaust. It is difficult to think of a worst place to take readings designed to provide an accurate record of U.K. and global trends. Furthermore, the heat distortions caused by growing urbanisation have undoubtedly corrupted both local and global datasets. On a global level, the Met Office has retrospectively adding over 30% heating to the record over the last 20 years, while removing similar amounts of heating from the period 1850-1900 to produce a century long heating trend.
The key to last year’s warm year was the prevalence of sunny weather throughout the spring and summer. In fact, sunshine hours were the seventh highest for the period since records began in 1919. But Homewood reports that there is no evident long-term trend in sunshine hours that would suggest this is part of a pattern of climate change. The Central England record is the longest continuous temperature collection going back to 1660. Last summer tied in fourth place, while 1976 was warmer by 0.4°C. Higher average temperatures were also recorded in 1826 and 2018.
On the rainfall front, annual precipitation in England and Wales has been gradually trending upwards since the 1990s, “but the long-term average is lower than during the 1870s and similar to the 1920s”. Rainfall increased substantially in Scotland between the 1970s and 1990s, but there has been little long-term change since then. In Northern Ireland, there has been little change for almost 100 years. Storms have been named in the U.K. since 2015 and the increased media attention is said to have led to the misapprehension that they are becoming more common. In reality, reports Homewood, wind storm have been declining in both frequency and intensity since the 1990s. The graph below shows this trend.
The Met Office notes that the U.K. climate continues to change and weather is becoming more extreme. But Homewood provides hard facts that show the U.K. climate has changed very little and long-term trends are dwarfed by the natural variability of weather. There is no evidence that weather has become more extreme or will do so in the future.
In conclusion, Homewood states that the U.K. climate remains “absolutely benign”. The changes we have seen have been small and mostly thoroughly welcome. GWPF director Dr. Benny Peiser added that it was extraordinary that we are impoverishing our economy and households in a utopian attempt to achieve Net Zero at any cost. This at a time when the U.K.’s long-term climate trends “have remained relatively stable and pleasant”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.