Much to its evident discomfort, the BBC has been forced to acknowledge the obvious, that for weeks now, the UK’s weather has been unsettled – with widespread rain, cooler temperatures and an autumnal feel.
Without doubt, the broadcaster would prefer us to be roasting in a prolonged heatwave to support its treasured “global boiling” thesis, matching the situation in much of southern Europe, which it reports has been enduring dangerous heatwaves that have seen temperatures top 40ºC and large wildfires.
That we are not frying to order is obviously something that cannot be tolerated without trying to explain away the anomaly, which the BBC attempts to explain away by telling us that the two extremes of weather are linked. Crucially, we are told, “it’s down to where the jet stream is”.
In an appeal to authority, without identifying any specific sources, Esme Stallard, climate and science reporter, with the assistance of all-purpose hack Sean Seddon, tell us that “meteorologists say” the wet and cool weather is due to the position of the jet stream, a core of strong winds sitting about five to seven miles above the Earth’s surface, and which dictate much of the UK’s weather.
The jet stream, we are then told, marks the boundary of cold air to the north in the polar regions and hot air to the south, a contrast which produces pressure differences. And last year, the jet stream was positioned further north, so the UK saw warm and dry weather created by the high-pressure system sitting over the country.
According to these BBC sages, what is different about this month is that the jet stream has been stuck to the south of the UK, meaning its low-pressure system has been bringing cold and wet weather.
This is actually a pretty poor explanation of the meridional flow pattern which has been dominating the weather for a couple of years now, but that is of less concern than the need to tie in the phenomenon with global warming.
And here, the formula used is classic is its dishonesty. “Some scientists think”, we are told, as if that is sufficient authority for what comes next. These wondrously anonymous “scientists” apparently think that higher temperatures due to climate change in the Arctic are causing the jet stream to slow, increasing the likelihood of high pressure and hot weather remaining in place. But that’s it – that’s all we get, followed by the assertion that “global warming means hot temperatures and wetter periods will become more typical for the UK”.