At least three Typhoon fighter jets were landing at RAF Coningsby around the time when the brief U.K. temperature record was declared at 15:12 on July 19th last year from a measuring device situated halfway down the runway. Following a Freedom of Information request, the Daily Sceptic has obtained portions of the log books of four pilots flying from the base that afternoon, casting considerable doubt on the record that made headlines around the world.
The pilots’ log books record three of the four Typhoons landing at 15:10, 15:15 and 15:15. However, since these log books round off all times to the nearest five minutes, we can interpret this to mean the three jets landed between about 15:07:30 to 15:17:30 at the latest. But pilots want to rack up the most possible flying hours, so a landing at 15:12:30 would be written down as 15:15 and not 15:10, and there is always wiggle room.
In reality, it’s likely that the three jets actually landed in very quick succession, rather than over the space of several minutes. Many videos are available online showing operations at Coningsby, with Typhoons flying (and landing) close to each other, and a very recent video shows three jets landing within 30 seconds. The lead jet of the three landing on July 19th was ZJ914 – the RAF’s primary display aircraft – suggesting the others were experienced pilots who may well have landed in close formation. Taken in context with the log books, this points to the three aircraft landing together at some point very close to when the record was set at 15:12, and likely a little before.
At 15:10, the temperature suddenly jumped by 0.6°C to hit the 40.3°C record at 15.12. Within 60 seconds, the record temperature dropped back by 0.6°C. At the time, the Met Office claimed that verifying the record had been a “rigorous process” and that all data was accurate.
The Daily Sceptic has published a number of articles about the Coningsby incident and the general recording of surface temperatures by the Met Office. Last November, we asked the Met Office if its “rigorous process” confirming the validity of the 40.3°C record had ruled out all non-climatic causes such as jet aircraft operating near the measuring device, since RAF Coningsby is a major jet pilot training centre and home to two squadrons of Typhoons. We received no reply. Earlier, Lincolnshire Live was told the rise in temperature might have been due to a break in thin cloud. Last November, the Daily Sceptic published a satellite photo showing cloudless skies at 15:00 on July 19th across London and most of eastern England.
In the light of our latest revelations, it’s time the Met Office made a statement about its claimed record at RAF Coningsby. It should either withdraw it, or provide convincing evidence as to why the record should be retained. If it does not take public action, it risks the ‘record’ becoming a national joke.
Last year was a warm year in the U.K. and July 19th was undoubtedly a very hot day, although the mini-heatwave had broken by 22:00, with rain in London and a 20°C drop in temperature. Five English places declared temperatures over 40°C, but all have problems with non-climatic heat corruptions.
The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) grades weather stations and gives lower classifications to those surrounded by tarmac and buildings. An interesting article in the blog Climate Scepticism looked at the five U.K. 40°C sites and found problems at all of them. According to the WMO, the classification set for Coningsby suggests a temperature margin of error of up to 1°C. The second place at London’s St. James’s Park is sited next to a metalled path, suggesting a 2°C uncertainty. Heathrow and Northolt are busy London airports with the same problems as Coningsby. The last site in Kew Gardens is marginally better, but it is sited near one of the largest tropical greenhouses in the world, and breezes wafting over the vast glass structure could corrupt surrounding measurements.
For the purpose of taking temperature measurements to build a picture of long-term climate change, there are few places more unsuitable than an airport runway. But all airports measure temperature for operational purposes, and the easily-available data from numerous locations is embedded in both national and international datasets. In the U.K., the Met Office is fully signed up to the ‘climate crisis’ narrative. One-off weather events and measurements are fed to the unquestioning mainstream media by the Met Office and this helps promote alarm in the cause of the collectivist Net Zero agenda. The Met Office is particularly busy in the summer months where it seems to have decided to catastrophise what was once considered normal summer weather. Three balmy days of 25°C on the Cornish Riviera are now termed a ‘heatwave’, while national weather maps turn blood-red as temperatures climb through the 20s. On a global scale, the Met Office has retrospectively added over 30% warming to the last 20 years, removing a 2000-2012 pause clearly still seen in satellite data.
At the time of the claimed Coningsby record, Dr. Mark McCarthy from the Met Office told Lincolnshire Live that in a climate unaffected by human-induced climate change “it would be virtually impossible for temperatures in the UK to reach 40°C”. There is no way that McCarthy can know this since it is just an opinion, or to be more accurate, an opinion backed up by computer models. There is not a single science paper that would prove that claim conclusively.
If anything, it would seem that much of the claimed urban heat should be removed, rather than increased. In recent ground-breaking work, two American scientists – Dr Roy Spencer and Professor John Christy – working out of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, have started to separate out the effect of urbanisation on temperature measurements. Over the last 50 years, it was discovered that warming could have been exaggerated by up to 50% across the eastern United States. Interestingly, the largest exaggerations were found at airports. At Orlando International Airport in Florida, the local data showed massive warming of 0.3°C per decade, a figure that fell to just 0.07°C when adjusted for urban heat.