A few warm days in June and the BBC slips seamlessly into full weather catastrophisation mode. “Is the U.K. getting hotter?” it asks. “Experts have said it’s rare to see temperatures this high at this point in June.” Back on terra firma, at 50°N, it is debatable whether the U.K. is currently getting hotter, and while 30°C in June might not be an every-year occurrence, it is hardly rare.
Surface temperature measurements plotted by the Met Office confirm my often stated observation that recent warming seen in the U.K. and the northern hemisphere has run out of steam. BBC science reporter Georgina Rannard writes that over the last three decades “the U.K. has become 0.9°C warmer”. Looking at the graph above, it can be seen that most of this warming occurred in the 1990s. She might have more informatively noted that in the last 22 years, the U.K. temperature has risen by 0.2°C. Clinging to 1990s data to boost suggestions of current warming is widespread across the BBC. In Scotland, the recent temperature record is even flatter than the U.K. as a whole, but last March Professor Dame Julia King, a member of the Government-sponsored Climate Change Committee, told the BBC that temperatures had risen by 0.5°C over the last 30 years.
The Met Office publishes mean U.K. temperature readings regularly. I have been looking at them for a few years and they do not appear to have been adjusted or changed. They show that the 2010s were colder at 9.17°C than the preceding 2000s, when the overall average was higher at 9.31°C. This is in marked contrast to the Met Office global temperature dataset HadCRUT, where we have seen two major human-adjusted uplifts during the last decade, producing around 30% of extra heating. In addition, some historical records have been lowered. All the major global temperature datasets have made similar adjustments. As a result, their upward trend lines do not align with many measurements made by satellites and meteorological balloons. These records are out of line with local recordings showing obvious temperature slowing, as we can see in the U.K.