Heatwave hype

I don’t think of myself as any kind of skeptic or global warming denier, if anything I view the stance I take as a global warming agnostic. Climate isn’t stable and it never has been. Everytime we hear of an ‘extreme’ weather event these days it’s now classed as another example of ‘global warming’ or ‘global weirding’. Take this article by Jon Henley I plucked from today’s Guardian about the current heatwave over Europe.

I’m not complaining specifically about the graphic in the tweet that he included being the temperature at 850 hPa, and not the surface, I’m sure Jon Henley is intelligent to realise that the temperatures on the ‘heat map’ aren’t high enough to constitute a heatwave. No, it’s just the overall tone of the piece, and that can be summed up as : severe weather of any kind equals another example of global warming or global heating as it’s now to be called.

The article always starts off with the facts of the matter, interspersed with a few choice pictures of elephants getting hosed down at a zoo, a couple frolocking in a fountain, people hiding under the shadow of a bridge to escape the heat (all of which I excluded from my screen shot) and then cuts to a quote from an expert “Rahmstorf”.

Weather data show that heatwaves and other weather extremes are on the rise in recent decades,” he said. “The hottest summers in Europe since the year AD1500 all occurred since the turn of the last century: 2018, 2010, 2003, 2016, 2002.”

Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chair of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor at Potsdam University, Germany:

You would have thought that he would have put the years in order but there you go. Here’s the hyperlink that the Guardian article linked to:

I’m not sure what “weather data” Stefan is looking at for Europe, but all I can say is, at least in the Central England series, which as you know I have a bit of a thing about, this patently isn’t true.

Warmest summers [JJA] in central England [1659-2018]

As you can see only three of the five warmest summers [JJA] that he mentions figure in the top thirty warmest summers since 1659 in central England, the years 2010 and 2016 don’t appear at all. Personally when you factor in the urbanisation that has occured in the last 360 years I’m not surprised that recent years figure so highly in the table.

And because I’m no professor in a respected German University, or a columnist for a prestigious UK newspaper, and because this blog will be only read by a handful of readers these assumptions of fact will go unchallenged. Yes summers are warming but there have always been heatwaves and there always will be.

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