The best kind of predictions of climate doom sit in a sweet spot, happening soon enough to stimulate fear but not soon enough to be quickly shown to be yet another crock of ****.

The median time horizon for predictions of an ice-free Arctic is 16 years. This seems to be about right. Who remembers stuff that someone bleated about in 2006? [Well, “Arctic Death Spiral Update” does, but that’s not the point. Nobody important is going around jabbing their finger at these disappointed Nostradamuses and telling them, “Sling yer hook! You’re fired!” Hell, even making up data or faking “smoking gun” memorandums doesn’t get you put on the naughty step for twelve minutes these days.]

The median time between prediction and “apocalypse” was said to be 20 years by Rode and Fischbeck [See here for Tony’s appraisal of same; my lengthy comment is close to the bottom].

However, I digress, because this particular presentiment of doom had a time window, not of 16 or 20 years, but 4 days. Prof Sir Admiral King, once the government’s Chief Scientist and now the commander of a flotilla of plastic battleships that he sends on daring missions up and down his bathtub, made a bold prediction about the number of deaths that would be caused by the then-imminent heatwave. It was on the 16th of July, the Saturday, when he told LBC that “up to” 10,000 deaths were to be anticipated on the following Monday and the Tuesday [inclusive? Unclear]:

Sir David continued: “You mention figures of thousands of deaths. I’m afraid the excess deaths on Monday and Tuesday have got to be anticipated at least in that sort of range… a few thousand up to 10,000.”


Well, it was a bold prediction indeed to make on the 16th that thousands would die on the 18th -19th, but Prof Sir Admiral King knew what he was talking about. He was proven right, and the ONS duly reported that 8,700 excess deaths occurred on both the two very hot days.

What’s that? They didn’t report a large excess of deaths? I think you’ll find you’re barking up the wrong tree, Mr. Denier. I have the data right here somewhere, and if you simply casually glance at the weekly mortality figures for the year 2022, the heatwave week sticks out like the Matterhorn.

Weekly registered deaths, England and Wales: ONS

Whaddaya mean, which week was it? Oh. Hang on a mo, let me just work it out. Yeh. It was the week ending 22nd July, so it was week number 29.

[Multiple caveats: the large majority of deaths are registered within a week of occurring, and almost all (barring those requiring inquests) within two weeks. Some weeks are lower than the seasonal trend: these may relate to bank holiday weeks where not as much gets done as normal. The drop in the average death rate at Chrimbo is not a miracle: deaths then are pushed forwards, particularly into week 53 [not shown here]. I did not use the 5-year average including 2020 or 2021 for obvious reasons, and the population will have grown in the interim.]

Weekly registered deaths, England and Wales, difference from 2015-19 mean

In fact, there has been an excess of deaths every week since the beginning of May, with the exception of week 22, which included an extra bank holiday and an extended weekend. And while there is potentially a further elevation in death rates in weeks 29-30, representing heat wave casualties, they certainly don’t number close to 10,000. The highest excess is week 19, where almost 2500 excess deaths were recorded. That was more than the same week in the (2nd) pandemic year of 2021 and only about 600 less than the (1st) pandemic year of 2020.

The question remains: what is causing the excess deaths in England and Wales this year? There is a suggestion that the responsibility lies with lockdown, and the prolonged suspension of NHS services. I don’t know. Perhaps Prof Sir Admiral King has the answer.


Paul Homewood also covered Prof Sir Admiral King’s true prediction. King was about the doomiest about the heatwave that I could find. Most media were cagey in putting actual numbers on things. The Guardian said “Thousands may die,” but it didn’t say how many thousands.

See here for some more of Prof Sir Admiral King’s balderdash as transcribed by me at the time.

Featured image

A shack near Frinton-on-Sea. [Actually a hide, but it had been vandalised.]


  1. Jit,

    Going from the ONS data, it would seem that excess deaths during the July heatwave periods amounted to 1,344 for England and Wales combined. By excess, I mean in excess of the rest of July. This figure is derived from the following statement:

    “…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).”

    But let us not be too harsh on Prof Sir Admiral King. He did say “up to” 10,000 deaths and, since 1,344 is definitely less than 10,000, then in a very important respect he got it right 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John, now I’m confused. My spreadsheet has 10,978 registered deaths for week 29 (England and Wales). That’s an average of 1568 per day. 90 of those were in Wales.

    Using the weekly data I’ve got, the difference in deaths between the first two weeks of July and the 3rd-4th weeks is about 1600 in total. Some part of that could be ascribed to heatwave deaths, but there are similar excesses in other weeks since May, so it’s not obvious.🐱‍💻

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps the discrepancy is a reporting delay thing. If not, then I can’t explain it, but at least our figures are closer to each other than they are to 10,000.

    As far as attributing deaths to climate change is concerned, that is virtually impossible to do reliably. Causation questions like this always require answers to counterfactuals, i.e. what the death rate would have looked like without AGW. The best one could do is to predict how much of the excess heat was due to AGW (using the old climate model re-run trick), subtract that from the achieved temperatures and then look up how many excess deaths are historically associated with such a reduced temperature record (hoping that all other causations remain equal). Thus calculated, the actual number of deaths that would have not happened if it were not for AGW will be substantially less than the excess recorded during the heatwave.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. At the risk of going O/T for a blog called Climate Scepticism, there are questions that need answers regarding the excess deaths this summer, not just in the UK, but over much of the world. It does seem odd, given the excess deaths over the last two years from covid (which might lead us to expect lower non-covid deaths this summer), and I don’t believe that they’re down to climate change. If they were, I think the usual suspects would be shouting it from the rooftops by now.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. To avoid accusations of this blog being mis-labelled, perhaps consideration should be given to it being rebranded as the more-accurate ‘Climate and Weather Scepticism’?


  6. John, on causation, if memory serves Captain Stott of the Met said that without climate change the 40 degree heatwave would have been a 1 in 1000 year event. With climate change, it was of course more likely, and by 2050 it will be every other Tuesday or sommat. But 1 in 1000 chances do happen; the nature of probability is that unlikely things happen all the time. [A nasty trick is to ask someone how likely it is that two people share a birthday.] I do not want to know how the sausage is made, but I am quite sure I would be horrified to discover how these probabilities were calculated. And was Stott referring to the temperature with UHI, or without it?

    Mark, not off topic at all. I hoped someone might enlighten me as to what is going on, or proffer a hypothesis. A friend tells me that “people are dying of everything.”

    Joe, I am a sceptic about apocalypses generally. So far I’m on a long winning streak. One day I may be wrong. That is the weakness of proof by induction. See my comment on Tony’s piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “I am a sceptic about apocalypses generally. So far I’m on a long winning streak.”

    We all are! 😉


  8. Jo P., Is anyone sceptical about the weather?
    In this kingdom, most people discuss it incessantly and it is commonly the first item of conversation. Most people have opinions about predictions of it, from what will happen over the next few minutes, to the rubbish of BBC predictions or guesses as to whether the big game will be ruined by rain.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So far this discussion seems unscientific to me
    If we are counting the impact of heatwaves we need to calculate the number of QALYs Life Year Lost
    The “show me the bodies rule applies”
    So first I need to see how many dead heatwave bodies we have
    ie on the death certificate
    However no one is tweeting such a tally
    Nor is there any obvious story in the media.
    So I conclude there weren’t many heatwave dead bodies.

    Furthermore if you find me 100 95 year olds with that on the D Cert I am not particularly bothered
    cos it’s not going to tally up to many QALYs

    Liked by 1 person

  10. While living in Andalusia about 20 miles inland from the coast, the usual practice to announce the death of a villager was to ring the church bell. During the very hot summer’s in the 90’s the bell rang quite regularly ! The thing is, the bell rang quite regularly during the winter every year.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I used to live in Calahonda, inland is probably more sane

    I remember hitching inland and walking in places like El Camino Del Rey before most people ever heard of it.


  12. Jit; “Mark, not off topic at all. I hoped someone might enlighten me as to what is going on, or proffer a hypothesis.”
    The Daily Sceptic has carried a series of articles about the continuing tally of excess deaths. For example:

    They have made the point a few times that, as well as being unexplained, the numbers are counter-intuitive since, following the ravages of covid, the tally should be lower than normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. today anyone over 83 was born before the war
    anyone under 77 was born after the war
    3 groups before/during/after
    There might be different lifespan resilience between the groups
    ie the after cohort has many weaker people ?


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