This week of all weeks, one might expect the climate alarmists to be very happy. It’s all going according to plan. Europe is sizzling under a heat dome, the UK has seen new record high temperatures, the mainstream media (with the BBC and the Guardian cheerleading the way, as ever) has done little other than bang on about heat and climate change for days now. So what’s the problem?

1976, it seems, is the problem. The long, hot, dry summer, the drought, the standpipes in the streets, the empty reservoirs, Dennis Howell appointed as Minister of Drought, pesky old-timers who actually remember it and never stop banging on about it – it all irks, it annoys, it gets in the way of the message.

It shouldn’t, of course. It’s indisputable that the climate is changing (as it always has done, one way or another). It’s obvious that global temperatures are increasing. But then, but then….Annoyingly, records seem to be inconveniently associated with airports (Heathrow keeps popping up) and airfields (I wonder why the BBC report claiming a new record high at Coninsgby failed to mention that it was actually at RAF Coninsgby?). Hmm, that might be a problem. And so much of the heat seems to be in cities – that might allow pesky deniers to keep talking about Urban Heat Islands. Then there’s the satellite data, which inconveniently refuse to show temperatures rising at the rates claimed in other temperature datasets. And some UK politicians have started being a bit flaky about net zero. No, best to keep the pressure on, and give them nowhere to turn.

And so, it seems, a decision has been taken to rubbish claims that 1976 was very hot, or at least that it was anything like as hot as now. Were you around in 1976? Do you remember weeks and weeks on end of unbroken sunshine and sweltering temperatures? Well, maybe it wasn’t quite how you remember it. It was a long time ago, after all. Perhaps you’ve misremembered just a bit. As have all those other people of your age who also seem to think it was extraordinarily hot.

Is it a coincidence that the BBC report (UK heatwave: How do temperatures compare with 1976?) and the Guardian report (Yes, Britain had a heatwave in 1976. No, it was nothing like the crisis we’re in now) with sub-title “As a climate scientist, I’m tired of hearing about that summer) (yes, I bet you are) attacking beliefs about 1976 came out within a few hours of each other?

The BBC version set itself up as a fact check, and was produced by its Reality Check Team. The main problem with it is that it adopted a now common strategy with BBC fact-checking articles, namely it failed to address the key points and concentrated instead on setting up and attacking straw men. Thus we are told things such as this:

The comparison with the 1976 heatwave has also proven popular among users sharing conspiracy theories – including unfounded claims that a “climate lockdown” is about to be imposed.

Context

At the risk of repeating myself, the extraordinary aspect of the summer of 1976 was its sheer extent. By which I mean how long it lasted, the fact that much of the country – the entire UK – was affected (as opposed to bits of London and the south east of England), and how many consecutive days were very hot (even if not up to this year’s few record-breaking days). And most of this highly germane information is ignored or side-stepped by the BBC report, which simply tells us instead:

The peak that year [1976] was 35.9C. That has been beaten by the current temperatures, with 40.3C recorded so far.

The heatwave of 1976 started in June and lasted for two months. There was a lack of rainfall and a significant drought, with the government enforcing water rationing.

The heatwave was rare for that decade. The average maximum temperature in July in the 1970s was 18.7C. In the 2010s, it was more than 20C.

It seems to me that if you’re writing an article about the extraordinary summer of 1976, drilling down to discuss the average maximum temperature in July (as opposed to a whole summer) in the 1970s (as opposed to 1976) is a (deliberately?) misleading distraction. Why not discuss at length just how extraordinary that summer was?

Even the Guardian article managed to include the rather salient fact that “[t]emperatures topped 32C (89.6F) somewhere in the UK for 15 days on the trot”. You might have thought that a BBC “fact-checking” article would have mentioned that fact. But it didn’t. And, by the way, that reference to “…somewhere in the UK for 15 days on the trot” is worthy of mention. It wasn’t that somewhere near Heathrow Airport registered 15 consecutive days of 32C+ heat, but that those temperature recordings were coming in from all over the place. It was hot almost everywhere. Or should I say almost everywhere in the UK.

It seems it wasn’t hot everywhere in Europe. And so the BBC sets up another straw man to knock down:

That summer [1976], the UK and France were among a handful of countries experiencing high temperatures.

But if you look at the heat maps (produced by NASA) for June 2022, it shows many more countries affected.

I don’t set out to argue with that, but I do point out that it is once again a deflection technique. Those of us who were there and remember it vividly, and tediously point out that the summer of 1976 in the UK was extraordinary aren’t arguing that the climate globally isn’t changing. We’re just pointing out that for most people in most of the UK, no summer (including this one) has come remotely close to challenging 1976 for its sheer intensity and endurance. And I suppose that’s the problem – the establishment is trying to scare the UK citizenry into agreeing to continue committing unilateral economic disarmament (per Kemi Badenoch MP). Instead, complaining that we don’t have any need to do that in the UK because things here aren’t so bad, and were “worse” 46 years ago is a dangerous message. And so it has to be comprehensively rubbished.

In fairness to the Guardian, although its report also seeks to highlight global warming and global weather as a means by which to downplay the 1976 story, it does at least give us a little more honesty and detail:

1976 was undeniably a hot summer. A really hot summer, in fact. Temperatures topped 32C (89.6F) somewhere in the UK for 15 days on the trot, climbing to a maximum of 35.9C on 3 July.

That said, I do have to take issue with this sentence:

Contrast that to July 2022, and there are few places on Earth where temperatures are not considerably above average.

Actually, much of the southern hemisphere is experiencing an unusually cold winter:

Residents in Western Australia’s Kimberley region have shivered through one of the coldest starts to July on record, with some areas reporting record low day and night temperatures for the month, says the ABC News website.

Electroverse tells us that:

On the morning of Thursday, May 27, New Zealand suffered a wave of historical cold.

A powerful Antarctica air mass brought the mercury plunging to -8.8C (16F) at Dunedin International Airport, which is located in the SE of the South Island at an elevation of 1.2 m (4 ft).

This reading ties the all time lowest temperature EVER recorded at the airport (set in both May 1988 and July 2007), in record books dating back to 1963.

And it’s pretty cold in South America too, as The Watchers website tells us:

A powerful Antarctic cold mass is bringing unprecedented cold, record snow, and frosts to parts of South America, such as Argentina and Brazil.

In Brazil, one of the strongest polar air masses in the past years is starting to make temperatures drop in the Rio Grande do Sul. According to MetSul, the cold is forecast to intensify, and its coverage will be very large in South America, spreading across many countries.

MetSul also warned of severe frosts that will continue to impact much of Brazil, causing significant damage. Very rare snow is predicted for the country’s southern region and outside the high plains.

“All numerical models analyzed by MetSul indicate the occurrence of snow in southern Brazil in this polar cold event,” wrote MetSul.

In Argentina, a cold spell and rare snow have been reported in the provinces of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe this week. The observatory in the capital registered a daily high record of 8.5 °C (47.3 °F) on June 27, followed by historic overnight lows.

On June 28, several areas registered their coldest mornings this year, including -4 °C (24.8 °F) in Mendoza Aero, -4.4 °C (24 °F) in Mendoza Obs, -3.9 °C (25 °F) in Saint Martin, -6.9 °C (19.6 °F) in San Rafael, and -11.7 °C (10.9 °F) in Malargue.

The freezing temperatures and record snow has been ongoing in the country for weeks. On June 16, snow fell in Cordoba for the seventh time in 100 years, and it was also the first time the city was covered in white in 14 years.

Of course, this is weather, not climate, but please, Guardian, can we have the full facts?

However, I digress. Back to the Guardian article. Unfortunately, it also seeks to confuse the issue of day after day after of heat with individual daily heat records. And so we are told:

And this record-breaking year [2022] is just one in a series of record-breaking years. Nine of the top 10 hottest UK days on record have been since 1990. And 1976 isn’t the odd one out in that list: it doesn’t even make the cut.

But one hot day does not a summer make. Summer is generally regarded as being June, July and August in the UK. Let’s look at the summer as a whole:

1976 Summer Data

Not surprisingly, Wikipedia has a page devoted to the summer of 1976, or (as it styles it) 1976 British Isles Heat Wave (which seems a very accurate description). Unashamedly, I borrow from Wikipedia some of the salient details:

It was one of the driest, sunniest and warmest summers (June/July/August) in the 20th century, although the summer of 1995 is now regarded as the driest.

Only a few places registered more than half their average summer rainfall.

In the CET record, it was the warmest summer in the series until being surpassed in the 21st century.

It was the warmest summer in the Aberdeen area since at least 1864, and the driest summer since 1868 in Glasgow

Heathrow had 16 consecutive days over 30°C (86°F) from 23 June to 8 Julyand for 15 consecutive days from 23 June to 7 July temperatures reached 32.2°C (90°F) somewhere in England. Furthermore, five days saw temperatures exceed 35°C (95°F). On 28 June, temperatures reached 35.6°C (96.1°F) in Southampton, the highest June temperature recorded in the UK. The hottest day of all was 3 July, with temperatures reaching 35.9°C (96.6°F) in Cheltenham.

The great drought was due to a very long dry period. The summer and autumn of 1975 were very dry, and the winter of 1975–76 was exceptionally dry, as was the spring of 1976; indeed, some months during this period had no rain at all in some areas.

The drought was at its most severe in August 1976 and in response Parliament passed the Drought Act 1976 to ration water.

Parts of the south west went 45 days without any rain in July and August.

As the hot and dry weather continued, devastating heath and forest fires broke out in parts of Southern England. 50,000 trees were destroyed at Hurn Forest in Dorset.

Crops were badly hit, with £500 million worth of crops failing [I assume at 1976 prices]. Food prices subsequently increased by 12%.

The Haweswater reservoir had only 10% of its water left; people walked dryshod on its bed 60 feet (18m) below its normal water level. The site of the flooded village of Mardale Green was dry. Ladybower reservoir in Derbyshire dried out and revealed the flooded villages of Ashopton and Derwent, it was possible to make out the village layout and garden walls.

In Ireland the temperature reached 32.5°C (90.5°F) in County Offaly on 29 June 1976. There were also gorse fires in County Wicklow.

In the Central England Temperature series, 1976 is the hottest summer for more than 350 years. The average temperature over the whole summer (June, July, August) was 17.77°C (63.99°F), compared to the average for the unusually warm years between 2001–2008 of 16.30°C (61.34°F).

From all that detail, I think it’s worth noting that the summer of 1975 was also very hot and dry, the winter that sandwiched the summers of 1975 and 1976 was dry, as was the spring of 1976. No doubt it goes some way to explain the severity of the drought in the summer of 1976.

The other takeaway point is that if one doesn’t obsess about individual daily records, and looks at the summer as a whole, then an anomaly of +1.47C is apparent when compared to the “unusually warm” years between 2001-2008. That really is quite something. Especially if one considers that the population of the UK in 1976 was c. 56.2 million, compared to a UK population today of c. 67.9 million. With the population having increased by around 20% since 1976, the urban sprawl contributing to the urban heat island effect today must be noticeable. And many airports (where so many heat records seem conveniently to be set) will also have expanded considerably during the last 46 years.

The summer of 2022 is of course only half-way through. However, by this stage in 1976 we were already remarking, where I then lived in the north of England, how hot and prolonged it was (and it still had quite some way to go). This year, by contrast, we’ve had a pretty poor spring, a thoroughly indifferent June, and two very hot days in July where I now live (in a different part of the north of the England, though on roughly the same line of latitude). The heatwave (do two days constitute a heatwave?) is over, and the following day saw pleasant summer temperatures (very low 20sC). It’s as well that we made the most of them, for looking at the 14 day weather forecast on the BBC website, all I see ahead is quite a lot of rain, and a highest temperature of 19C (with a few highs of 16C thrown in). By the time that forecast period is over, it will be August. It seems highly unlikely that the summer of 2022 will come anywhere close to the summer of 1976 in the UK as a whole.

Conclusion

The irony is that the remarkable nature of the summer of 1976 (following as it did hot on the heels of a very warm and dry summer in 1975) proves nothing. It was weather, albeit exceptional weather. Those of who lived through it will never forget it, and will probably never see its like again (whatever the doom-mongers tell us). Still, so what? Climate is about long-term trends. So why are the BBC and the Guardian so desperate to down-play it? Do they fear they’re losing the battle for hearts and minds? Is net zero a fantasy now in the UK, as reality bites? One thing we can be sure of is that they won’t give up without one heck of a fight, as the assault on the memory of 1976 demonstrates very clearly.

46 Comments

  1. What about 1540 or 1911? Then again, what about 1984, and despite what the ‘records’ seem to be suggesting, 1984 to 1989 in the south of England had consistent good weather (not ‘death weather), and then how about since my return to the UK after 16 years in 2007, the fact that there has been nothing worthy of calling ‘summer’ until now (apparently, I’m not there right now). Always the same, selective memory to serve a narrative, but, we do remember 1976 and won’t let them forget it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh! And the record-breaking Welsh weather station supposedly at Hawarden –a pleasant leafy village on a ridge overlooking the Dee valley – is not actually at Hawarden at all. It’s at Hawarden Airport, which is usually known as Broughton airfield because that is where it is, down in the Dee valley some 2 ½ miles away. This is a major aerospace and industrial establishment where, among other things, wings for the Airbus are produced; acres or tin sheds and tarmac.
    Not surprisingly, Hawarden weather station has a long history of providing ‘hottest place in Wales’ stories. It is less than a mile from the English border and the climate conditions there would can be no different from highly industrialised Dee valley area in England of which it is part. The BBC’ report for this momentous event was filmed at the Gladstone Library in Hawarden village. The word ‘airport’ was not mentioned of course.
    Hawarden/Broughton airfield dates from 1939, producing Wellington and Lancaster bombers. A perfectly logical place for a weather station then − but now?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I should, perhaps, have concluded by pointing out that while the author of the Guardian article, “as a climate scientist”, may be fed up of hearing about 1976, just imagine if we were to have a re-run of 1976 today.

    It is inconceivable that the media would do anything other than bang on about it relentlessly, and I bet it would be blamed on man-made climate change.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Disclosure, I have amended the article to change a date typo from 1922 to 2022. It makes quite a difference!

    Like

  5. But we do remember 1976.

    We also remember acid rain. As a climate scientist, I am sure the author would prefer that we don’t bang on about that either. Actually, I don’t think we bang on about it nearly enough. It turned out to be a scientific scandal with parallels to climate change that are just too exquisite to ignore.

    Like

  6. Tony N, many thanks for the useful additional information. Also, apologies for the fact that your comment was trapped in Spam for a while for no obvious reason. I have released it now.

    Like

  7. I remember 76 well, as a 19yr old in Broxburn Scotland the roads melted (a bit) but it was great, swimming in the River Almond to cool off (think they call it wild swimming now, we did that years ago).

    thinking back we must have had a lot of good summers in Scotland (Lothian region) when I was a Kid (1960-73ish).

    after being out all day playing, my mum would call me as brown as a berry.

    Like

  8. ps – but we had harsh winters at the same time – so which is best?

    trudging thru snow at 7am to go to work was no fun, but we had to to it (no furloughs then)

    Like

  9. I’m a cricket umpire and last Saturday was the first time this season that I was able to go out to the middle without wearing a thick woolly jumper and thermal underwear – that’s how “hot” this summer has been so far!!!!!!

    Like

  10. This sort of nonsense might explain why 1976 had to be rubbished:

    “Climate change: Schools ‘not preparing kids’ for global warming”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-62245185

    “Children should be taught climate change in more depth and in all subjects, experts and students themselves have told BBC News.

    Current teaching is leaving children unprepared to live in a warming world, they warn.

    The extreme heat and wildfires in the UK this week could be normal in the coming decades, scientists say.

    Children currently study climate change in-depth in GCSE geography and science.

    But teenage campaigners say that because climate change is affecting all parts of our lives, it should be taught in all subjects.”

    It’s a bit difficult to brainwash children when their parents are grandparents are saying “Yeah, whatever, you haven’t lived through 1976”.

    Like

  11. By the way that article is accompanied by a photo of a burned-out building with the wording “Wildfire destroyed homes and nature during record-breaking heat this week”. Thus, without evidence, suggesting that the two events were linked. The BBC is shameless.

    Like

  12. Mark – not sure if this is the same Wildfire you comment on above, but below are 3 media posts on the “nursery and three homes destroyed in the Walnut Tree area of Milton Keynes”

    1 – bbc – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-62243198
    “The wreckage of four buildings has been captured in video filmed above the scene of a large-scale fire on the UK’s
    hottest ever day.
    A nursery and three homes were destroyed in the Walnut Tree area of Milton Keynes after a fence fire spread.”

    2 – https://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/news/emotional-parents-thank-nursery-staff-for-saving-their-childrens-lives-in-fire-that-
    destroyed-daycare-nursery-in-milton-keynes-3774449
    “The major incident started just after 12 noon at a property next to the Kiddi Caru Day Nursery in Walnut Tree.
    The seat of the fire was a wooden fence and the flames spread quickly during the extreme heatwave. The blaze has
    destroyed the nursery building, along with several nearby homes.”

    3 – https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1643209/wildfires-UK-arson-police-record-breaking-temperatures-hottest-day
    “But police are investigating the possibility of the fires being caused deliberately, as a children’s nursery was destroyed
    along with a street in Yorkshire.”

    this was not a wildfire event as has been reported by the MSM (reading between the lines & with only partial quotes given above)

    Like

  13. Dfhunter,

    The idea that Tuesday’s fires were an epidemic of arson attacks doesn’t seem to have gained much traction yet on the Internet. If or when it does, we must expect a debunking from the BBC’s reality check maestros. It’s all depressingly predictable.

    Like

  14. John – all 3 random searches I made report “wooden fence” as the start point.
    hot day, barbie in the back garden, ooh too near the fence. (nobody to blame, just bad luck)

    ps – “Video of a large fire at a sausage factory showed thick plumes of smoke and flames rising from the building.
    The blaze at Riverway Foods on River Way in Harlow, Essex, on Tuesday was being tackled by 10 crews from both Essex and Hertfordshire.
    The fire service warned people to stay indoors and keep windows shut as smoke drifted across the town.
    It said when crews arrived the building was 95% alight and 100% smoke-logged.
    Published 26 April BBC News”

    it’s funny the things you find when searching for something else, wonder what “100% smoke-logged” means ?

    Like

  15. In 1976 the new minister of drought had plans drawn up for pipelines from the Welsh mountains into some of the English cities, Then it rained for several weeks and everyone forgot about it!

    Like

  16. My brother and I worked as students on a dam construction project in Glendevon central Scotland during 1976 summer hols. We started work at 8:00 were swimming at 10:00 tea break, 2 swims at lunch break and a quick splash at 5:00 before going home. During 1975 we worked at Gleneagles golf courses for the hols, both summer’s were fabulous and we made ” lots of money” !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I seem to remember that 1976 was the only year that my grapes ripenened after years of careful attention ( In Surrey)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So 1976 WAS exceptional after all:

    “UK weather: Driest start to year in England since 1976”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62303330

    And this year isn’t UK-wide at all:

    “Conditions have been particularly dry in the south-east of England with the west, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland seeing lower temperatures and more rainfall.”

    And:

    “Dr Rob Thompson, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said while the weather was dry and the amount of rain recently was below average, it was not unusual, with similar dry periods occurring every few years.”

    The graphic accompanying the BBC story confirms that England & Wales rainfall from January to June was just 246mm in 1976 and 331mm in 2022 (against an average (1975-2022) of 429mm. I’m guessing, but my money is on them having omitted Scotland from those statistics for a reason – namely that the disparity between 1976 and 2022 would be even greater if Scotland was included.

    Like

  19. How encouraging that sufficient people felt strongly enough to comment about the overhype the media (not just the BBC) used in linking a summer heatwave to a supposed climate crisis. So much so that the BBC, the Met Office, weather presenters, John Cobley and all complain about being trolled. Such delicate snowflakes.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Alan,

    When telling someone to ‘get a grip’ is considered the height of abuse, I think ‘snowflake’ does appear to be the appropriate term to use. I am sorely tempted to write an article reminding the weather presenters etc., of the importance of freedom of speech and suggesting that they do not take disagreement so personally.

    Like

  21. John and Alan, you beat me to it because I have been up a hill this fine non-heatwave morning. Needless to say my take on that ridiculous BBC piece is the same as yours.

    Like

  22. Met Office lead meteorologist Alex Deakin said “it’s scary in some ways”, adding: “I find it more frustrating and offensive for my colleagues – some of the great minds in climate science. Show a bit of respect and do a bit more research rather than just believe Bob down the pub or Tony on YouTube.”

    My bold. Yes, officer, I’ll come quietly.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Richard,

    I’ve just remembered that I recently referred to one of those ‘great minds’ as a potato headed Darth Vader. So now I’m just waiting for the knock on the door. However, don’t forget that there were 12 of you lot who pressed the ‘like’ button, so if I’m to go down, so shall you all!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. John, I think you’ve misremembered the legal stuff that was added to our About Page, namely the sections that said:

    1. it was nuffin to do with me guv
    2. take him away and throw away the key.

    Best wishes anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The BBC PR machine has been given another run out this morning, this time with Merlyn Thomas behind the wheel — again.

    ‘UK Heatwaves: Five common myths debunked’

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62505711

    The first ‘debunk’ relates to the recent alterations to the heat wave maps. The usual red herring regarding colour blindness is repeated and the alteration of scale once again goes unmentioned.

    Then there is the debunking of concerns that records always seem to be at airfields. This is played down by saying only some of the weather stations are located at such places. I struggle to see how this allays the concerns. It would have been better to have pointed out that most stations are located at such places.

    Then, of course, 1976 comparisons are debunked without once mentioning the much greater extent and duration of that heatwave.

    Then there is a general defence of extreme weather event attribution and an insistence that alarming people over heatwaves is not alarmist because people die in them. No mention of cold related deaths.

    Related articles include the one in which the weathermen pathetically whine about trolling, and the risible effort that explains how to talk to a climate change ‘denier’, i.e. the one that Jit has so effectively lampooned.

    All in all, a good bit of Saturday PR exercise for Merlyn to add to her growing CV.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. It was ever thus.

    I seem to remember a running gag on 50s/60s radio comedy shows about families wanting to take their holidays on the Air Ministery Roof because, according to the BBC, it always appeared to be the warmest place in England.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. The BBC seems to have cut short its heatwave coverage, possibly in a fit of pique due to hot heat not reaching the levels that have been touted for days now.

    Instead it seems we have to be scared at the prospect of thunderstorms bringing the heat to an end.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. watched Justin Rowlatt (BBC news) do the the water cup example for what to expect when the rain comes.

    ps – He has 4 Children, so wonder what his family carbon footprint is ?

    (Slight edit – I share your low opinion of Mr Rowlatt, but prefer to keep those views away from public gaze. I hope you don’t mind).

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Why the great emphasis on thunderstorms this time? Thunderstorms commonly end periods of heat and I recall one year that such an event ended an entire summer. I may not have been looking but I don’t recall them being linked with flooding.

    I also don’t understand the worry that parched earth will shed water (rather than soak it up). Parched earth is commonly cracked and the cracks transmit water downwards very effectively.

    Like

  30. More climate disinformation from the BBC:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62539909

    “…temperatures have been high enough in Scotland to cause a wildfire in West Lothian that has burned for several days…”

    I very much doubt that. Hot and dry conditions may facilitate the burning and spread of a wildfire, but temperatures definitely did not cause it, as the BBC claims. As for the BBC’S climate misinformation team, physician heal thyself.

    Like

  31. Alan, in summer they say there is a risk of surface water flooding because the ground is parched. In winter they say there is a risk of surface water flooding because the ground is already saturated. Both nonsensical generalisations.

    Like

  32. The BBC is reporting that there have already been 500 more wildfires reported this year than for the whole of 2021. This statistic is not in the least bit surprising since this year there has been a drought and last year there wasn’t. A much more interesting comparison would be against 1976 but, unfortunately, it looks like the authorities didn’t start counting such things until about 2009, following a climate-driven increase in obsession. However, those of us who remember 1976 can provide anecdotal accounts that testify to the problem being just as bad back then. Take the following, for example:

    https://www.countryfile.com/countryfile/great-drought-of-1976-what-happened-and-what-was-the-impact-on-britain/

    Of course, youngsters like Merlyn Thomas know better. It couldn’t possibly have been as bad back then because for a couple of days this year it was hotter. Our experience misinforms us so her lack of experience is a great asset to her.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. One of the reasons why it is a shame we don’t appear to have data for 1976 wildfires is because it denies the opportunity to do some potentially interesting causal analysis. It is already well established that wildfires correlate to drought conditions more strongly than they do to hot weather. The 1976 drought was a lot more serious than this year’s (sorry BBC and Guardian, but that’s just a fact) and so, all other things being equal, there should have been more fires back in 1976 than there will be this year. Maybe this will prove to be the case, and maybe it won’t. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that 2022 ends up beating 1976 on this statistic. That would require an explanation because the pure climate change narrative would have it otherwise. Well, I can think of one trend that would explain such a difference – they didn’t have disposable barbecues back in 1976:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-62532328

    On a different subject, you will note from the above report that we are now very worried about the loss of habitat to rare species such as the Dartford Warbler, smooth snake and the sand lizard. Presumably the BBC fact checkers would point out that this was something else that they didn’t have to worry about back in 1976.

    Except:

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I was born in Broxburn, West Lothian in 1957 and left for Edinburgh in 78, so remember 76 well.

    the countryside around Broxburn (and Lothian as a whole) had/has ? huge swathes of Gorse bushes with a carpet of dried out spines below.
    almost every other summer that we had a hot dry spell, we would have a huge Gorse fire.

    fortunately in those days nobody built houses to near these areas.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. ps – have no idea how these fires started, but since, as a kid I played for hours in the gorse, those spines tips took days to get out (ouch)

    Like

  36. I see they (Met Office, BBC and the Guardian) are at it again:

    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2022/joint-hottest-summer-on-record-for-england

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62758367

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/01/england-has-had-joint-hottest-summer-on-record

    All gleefully tell us that England (not the UK, mind you) has had the joint hottest summer on record (tying with 2018, and again pushing 1976 down the pecking order.

    This is the Met Office:

    In England the warm and dry conditions have been more notable, with the mean temperature the joint warmest ever recorded (17.1°C) equalling that of summer 2018, and some areas have seen less than 50% of their typical summer rainfall. The warmest and driest areas relative to average were in the East and for East Anglia and parts of northeast England it was the hottest summer on record.

    The hot weather was not confined to England. It was provisionally the fourth warmest summer for the UK overall. The UKs warmest summers are all very close with not much separating them. 2018 (15.8°C), 2006 (15.8°C), 2003 (15.7°C), 2022 (15.7°C), 1976 (15.7°C). It was the eighth warmest summer for both Scotland and Wales and 12th warmest for Northern Ireland

    For England 2022 was the 6th driest summer on record (103mm), and driest since 1995 (66mm), in a series from 1836. For the UK overall it was the 10th driest summer (156mm) and driest since 1995 (106mm). Some of the driest regions relative to average were in East Anglia. Suffolk had its 2nd driest summer behind 1921, and Norfolk its 3rd driest (behind 1921 and 1983).

    It will take someone better versed than me at finding their way around the online records at the Met Office website to sort this out, but I think I can see what they have done. This isn’t about the highest daily high temperatures over the three months of meteorological summer. Rather, it’s now about the highest mean temperatures over those three months. Thus, we can still remember day after day of high temperatures in 1976, and the Met Office can still tell us that it wasn’t as hot as we remember, because the daily lows were higher this year than in 1976.

    It remains the case that the highest daily temperature in England for June sees the record shared by 1957 and 1976; 2022 takes the record for July (though we here have views about records set at airfields); and the record for August continues to be held by 2003. Strangely, despite the legerdemain adopted to produce this new record summer, the record for the highest daily minimum temperature is still held by 1976; again 2022 takes the record for July; and the August record is held by 1990.

    None of this stops the Met Office claiming:

    The summer of 2022 will be remembered as a dry and sunny three months, and for England, the joint warmest summer on record according to mean temperature. This means that four of the five warmest summers on record for England have occurred since 2003, as the effects of human-induced climate change are felt on England’s summer temperatures.

    Like

  37. Given that we are on the verge of extinction due to increasing heatwaves, one might have expected by now that the press would have been all over the carnage caused by July’s cull.

    But I see no such coverage. I wonder why? Maybe the ONS can provide us with the answer:

    “The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the Met Office issued Level 3 and Level 4 heatwave warnings between 11 and 21 July 2022. England and Wales saw extreme heat during this period, including temperatures recorded of over 40°C at a number of locations across England…”

    “…In addition, the preceding and subsequent days to those identified using these threshold(s) are also included as part of the heat period…”

    “…Average daily death occurrences during these dates (1,224 deaths for England and 83 deaths for Wales) were higher than the rest of July (1,149 deaths for England and 74 deaths for Wales; a 6.5% and 12.3% excess, respectively).”

    The three periods during July to which the above data applies covered 16 days in total. With an excess over the rest of July amounting to 84 per day, that equates to a total of 1,344 excess deaths. Very sad, but not the apocalypse we were promised. I’m afraid that figure just wasn’t the headline that XR were hoping for.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/monthlymortalityanalysisenglandandwales/july2022

    And maybe that is why the MET Office has only this to say on the subject:

    “In 1911 when temperatures reached 36.7°C, around 4,000 people died in London alone during the heatwave period.”

    So things are getting better then?

    https://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2022/07/18/maximum-temperatures-and-how-theyre-recorded/

    P.S. To be fair, the Guardian did cover the ONS report, and they tried to put their best spin on it:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/aug/23/deaths-in-englands-july-heatwave-up-7-on-rest-of-the-month

    Liked by 1 person

  38. “Climate change: Summer 2022 smashed dozens of UK records”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-63244353

    Now that it’s turning cold, three members of the BBC Data Journalism Team have got together to remind us (in an article which the BBC high-ups consider to be a front-page story on the BBC website) that the UK (or parts of it) just had a very hot summer.

    The bit that I struggle with is this:

    The data includes measurements from active weather stations in the UK that had at least 50 years of observations.

    Which is hardly long-term data. It only just includes 1976, a year that was exceptional for the lenght and breadth of its heatwave. Which makes statements like this all the more perplexing:

    “What was really notable about this heatwave was the northerly extent of extreme temperatures, and by how much previous records were broken,” according to Dr Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre….

    I’m not denying that (while noting that UHI played its part and that obtaining records at airfields is a little bizarre). However, suggesting that 2022 was exceptional throughout the UK is stretching it a lot. Yes, some places (but not the north of Scotland) experienced record high temperatures for a brief period, but much of the country failed to repeat the extraordinary experience of 1976 when day after day, week after week, month after month, huge swathes of the UK woke up to yet another day of clear blue skies and unusual heat.

    Like

  39. Mark – sadly it’s no longer a “Nudge” they use, it’s capture the young & give them airtime.
    1976 is not on the radar for the “newbies” that probably tell their parents to “get a grip, the planet is dying”

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.