Met Office and the BBC Spin May 2018 as ‘Hottest Since Records Began’


The Met Office tweeted this yesterday:

The BBC quickly jumped on the warmist good news and put out this article with the headline:

UK weather: May 2018 hottest since records began in UK

Read the small print though. They’re talking about the daily average maximum temperature. This is virtually meaningless. We need to know the daily average minimum to calculate the daily average mean for the month, which is a far more representative metric for assessing how warm May was. As it turns out, the average Min and Mean figures are not nearly as impressive:

Screenshot_2018-06-02 Potentially record-breaking May tops up an average spring

I doubt that a mean of 11.9C (anomaly = 1.5C) and a minimum of 6.9C (anomaly = 0.9C) makes May 2018 the “hottest since records began” [in 1910, by the way]. More warmist Fake News. The most we can say is that the weather in May was highly variable, geographically and temporally.



Paul Homewood has posted about this too. He points out that the mean CET for May is 13.2C. This is warm (equally as warm as 2017), but many May months since 1659 have been warmer – 17 to be precise, stretching as far back as 1726. 1833 was truly the ‘warmest May ever’ at 15.1C, nearly 2 degrees warmer than 2018 and occurring just 3 years after the very chilly Dalton Minimum! Finally, just to keep things in perspective, the 15th coldest May in the entire CET series which runs from 1659 was 1996, illustrating just how variable British seasonal weather really is.


  1. It is as if they are experimenying to find out how big a lie they can sell to a gullible public.
    I was in the UK in early May, visiting London, Bath, Glasgow, the Highlands and Edinburgh.
    It was cold, we wore sweaters and light jackets, and people were talking about how friggin’ cold it was.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I live very close to The Wash in Lincolnshire and most of May has been really quite cold with near constant North/North Easterly winds, very strong at times. We’ve had some very cold nights too. There is no way you could describe May in the East as the ‘warmest on record’.


  3. … the warmest and sunniest May’s on record …

    – The usual error. The period of ‘record’ represent an insignificant minor fraction of actual time of concern. What about the rest, that can’t be ignored in genuin science? They know that and deliberatly distort the message …


  4. I do love the way that the Met Office try to help us who are having problems with big, meteroloscatological words like “cold” and “sunniest”, adding little visual clues. Our weather dollars in action!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Even the second tweet is wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s not the sun that necessarily gives us warm weather but being within a warm air mass. May gave Eastern England (at least) a perfect example when successive days were – overcast and warm; sunny and cooler; sunny and warm. Each day we were in a different air mass. If the Met Office can’t even get this right….


  6. Alan, it’s been the sunniest, coolest and driest May I can remember since moving here. Right now, it’s overcast, horribly humid and very warm.


  7. Heh Hunter if people in Glasgow, the Highlands and Edinburgh were saying the cold in May was only “frigging”, you must have hit a warm spell.


  8. At the start of the month day-time temperatures in the North-West were fairly warm and in stark contrast to February and March when it was unusually cold. Night-time temperatures were lower than normal – 4-7C at 7am on some days.
    The last couple of weeks have been quite warm both in the day and at night.
    Given the records are in the context of just over 100 previous months, and given the huge number of possible ways to look at the data, and the large variation year on year, is it not surprising we should get some new records every year?
    Incidently, was there any attempt by the Met Office to put into context the unusually cold temperatures of earlier in the year? For instance No of days in a month of frost?


  9. Manicbeancounter,

    “The last couple of weeks have been quite warm both in the day and at night.”

    Even then you have to speak for yourself. Oop here on the North Yorkshire coast we have just emerged from 5 days of unbroken thick fog, drizzle and temperatures that didn’t challenge 11.9C, even as an average maximum! Today it is 16C, overcast and muggy, and we are all dancing for joy.


  10. If you’re looking for meteorological reasons why this May was warmer than average, look no further than the North Atlantic oscillation, which was positive throughout the month, in contrast to the chilly March when it was negative.


  11. They better not try to claim Warmest May for the US or Portugal! In both places, it has been quite chilly and very rainy. When are the clowns going to get it that we plebes have thermometers and weather stations and some even keep quite detailed records. And for the record, 13 is not particularly warm unless the previous day only got up to 7!


  12. It’s weird that the Met Office uses two different ways of communicating anomalies in its tables and doesn’t tell you when it has switched from units (for temperature anomalies) to percentages (everything else).

    I bet there’s a news story out there somewhere saying that Wales had 100.7 more sunshine hours than usual this spring, a scorching 29% above the 1981-2010 average.


  13. Having grown up in America’s so called “bible belt”, I recognize when people are seeing events through lenses that helps the wearer interpret events to support their faith. True believers want to see everything as *proof* that their fundamentalist faith is being manifested in the real world.
    Nothing demonstrates this lensing effect better than when some set of events can be (mis)interpetted as proof of another apocalypse. Remember that the fundamentalist concept of “apocalypse” is not simply about destruction. “Apocalypse” is really about being revealed to have been on the right side of a faith issue and being rewarded. And those on the wrong side being punished.
    So as the hoped for revelation continues to be delayed ut is more and more vital fir the true beluevers to reinforce their faith and to find ways to punish those who dare disagree. Think of Lew, Cook & gang or Mann’s slime attacks on skeptical women like Crockford and Curry. But it is also vital to turn perfectly nice weather, like normal spring weather, into a proof of the apocalyptic prophecy.
    I would submit that the article being analyzed is best explained by a climate-faith-apocalypse lens.


  14. The sunshine anomaly is +132h for the uk in May? I must be misreading that table, ‘cos I don’t believe the average sunshine in May could be 113h. (That’s an average of 3.5h/day, and the days in May are very long.)

    Why the met office tweet shows a field of ripe wheat is a mystery – it wasn’t THAT hot. Looks like a Ukraine flag.


  15. JIT.
    Met Office confused about spring wheat?
    Good catch. Thought it might be a rapeseed field, but apparently not.


  16. I can’t believe Richard Betts is defending the Met Office on this:


  17. Here you go: May mean UK temperature. Last data point is 2017 [Updated today: last data point is now 2018]. May 2018 is 11.9C, which, again looking at the graph, means 2018 would only be the fourth warmest May in the UK since 1910. Not quite so impressive, eh?


  18. Average daily minimum temperature for May 2018 is 6.9C. Now we see why, despite the fact that max temps in May were extraordinary, the average minimum daily temperature was nothing to shout about, hence the month overall was not, as claimed by the media and misleadingly implied by the Met Office, the ‘hottest May ever’. Warmist nonsense. Case closed.


  19. Well, isn’t that strange. Met Office have just updated their graphs and the UK max for May 2018 has increased to 17.2C (from 17.0C provisional), and the mean has increased from 11.9C (provisional) to about 12.1C, bumping up May 2018 to 3rd warmest evah! Nothing iffy about that; just ‘correcting’ the provisional data.


  20. Of course, by monitoring the max, the min and the mean, you triple your chances of getting a record. 97% of the public won’t notice the cherrypicking.


  21. It seems to have escaped most sceptic commenters’ notice that as well as ignoring the longer running Central England series (the argument being that CET is not the UK, only a small area – which doesn’t particularly hold water anyway), the Met Office transgressed the unspoken rules of fair and accurate communication to the public and media by assisting with giving the impression that May 2018 was the warmest in the UK since 1910, whereas it was in fact the 4th warmest (now the 3rd warmest after the provisional data was ‘corrected’). They did this by concentrating only on the daily average maximum temperatures, which were the highest on record, due to the fact that May was also the sunniest on record – because, astoundingly, it turns out that the more solar insolation is received, the hotter it gets during the day, generally speaking.


  22. Thanks for that link Paul. It doesn’t really explain why they chose to concentrate only on the maximum temperatures during the month and ignore the less than impressive minimums.
    They also dismiss the CET as being representative of only a very small area and based upon three stations only, but the fact is, according to the 1992 Met Office paper on CET from Parker, Legg & Folland, [A NEW DAILY CENTRAL ENGLAND TEMPERATURE SERIES, 1772-1991] CET is a surprisingly useful metric of changing climate:

    “Our series represents only a very small portion of the globe, but it offers valuable support to wider studies of European climate because it is very sensitive to atmospheric circulation variations over the North Atlantic . . . . . .

    . . . . . . the statistical characteristics of a reliable daily CET series can be used to verify general circulation model simulations of observed UK climate, e.g. to support model-based assessments of future UK climate resulting from increased concentrations of ‘greenhouse’ gases in the atmosphere”.

    Which makes it all the more fascinating because Tim legg, one of the authors of that 1992 paper on CET is quoted in the Guardian as saying:

    Tim Legg, of the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre, said: “Increased sunshine during the month has helped to keep daytime temperatures high, leading to it provisionally being the warmest May since records began in 1910. It is also likely to be the sunniest May since 1929 too.”

    It wasn’t the warmest UK May since records began in 1910. On those ‘provisional’ figures, it was the 4th warmest and is now the 3rd warmest with the ‘corrected’ figures. In allowing himself to be quoted like this, by the Guardian, under the headline: “May 2018 was sunniest and warmest on record in UK”, Tim Legg ignores the importance of the very temperature dataset which he helped to extend and improve in 1992, which puts May 2018 into perspective over the longer term..

    Liked by 1 person

  23. The only record here is the Met Office ‘hottest ever something or other’ broken record. It’s a bit pathetic really.


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