The great ‘hottest ever’ month con job – Why the Met Office figures are not as they seem

Because words (and averaging) matters…

You can’t but help when the Met Office has passed out an edict to it’s many weather presenters (in the UK). If you watch the BBC weather, or notice the Met Office logo at the bottom right of the screen, you have to be made aware that what the weather presenter is telling you has been mainly scripted by the Met Office. It’s not their own work. Sorry to break that to you. They are given a set number of statements and projections and they have to form some localised conclusions (hence most have a Meteorological degree). But the main points… all scripted.

Which is why a very obvious phrase has been turning up over the last two weeks, and it’s a phrase that’s been VERY accurately written and read.

“April has been the UK’s warmest since records began”.

They key elements to this phrase are “UK”, “warmest” and “records began”. Plus the understanding that it was average for the month.

Why so?

Well, it’s NOT been the highest temperatures recorded in April. Not by a very, very long way.

According to the Met Office the “warmest” average temperature for April was 10.7c. Phew hot! Really? Because it’s nothing compared to the 16th April 1949 which was 29.4c. Yes, that’s right. a little short of being 20c HOTTER. Which is why the average for April in 1949 is the THIRD hottest on record, behind 2007 (which was 10.2c).

But because that was only in the Southeastern part of England, that’s not going to count. Not while Scotland’s temperatures were much lower (and rainfall more).

Incidentally, on the 2nd of April 1917, the lowest temperature recorded in the UK was in Newton Rigg at -15c. That’s a 45c difference in range, within 40 years!

So we’ve covered how averaging and physical location of the measurement. Now lets handle the historic elements.

Records began..

The biggest kicker for the Met Office is how they’ve had to fall back on limitations in their own data set.

In order to boost the image of the warming, they’ve had to average it over the UK. But then that’s limited the records that are appropriate. To what level? Well, temperature records for the “entire UK” didn’t start until 1910. So we are already looking at a considerably smaller set of data.

So is it going to be hot? What about 2007?

2007 was an interesting year, with it being a El Niño year. So it was bound to be hot. Except… it wasn’t. Temperatures in 2007 didn’t exceed 2006, which hadn’t increased from 2001.

Hot everywhere then?

Nope. Apart from the well recognised lower temperatures in the US, Pakistan is confounding “weather machines” (as they put it) in that it’s a very wet, cool April.

Conclusion

So what we’ve seen here is a minor increase on a plateau that’s been around for the last ten years. It’s not statistically important, it’s not a breakthrough in our understanding.

So what’s the Met Office doing?

It’s feeding the flames of the only part of it’s business that’s making money, climate research. Because unless there’s some important reason to investigate it, they can’t keep claiming every increasing amount of money for support. Both from the Government (from taxes) or from international agencies such as the UN (from US taxes).

Incidentally, if the weather in the UK had been cooler then, as in Pakistan, it would be described as being “disrupted” or “unstable”.

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