July 23, 2006

Hot Story Not So Hot

More from the European "heat wave", this time from England:
CAN THERE be any headline more disappointing than the words: “Britain sizzles as heatwave breaks records”? It is usually followed by a report about the hottest Tuesday in Bognor Regis for four years. Admittedly this week’s “record” temperature — 36.5C at Wisley, Surrey, on Wednesday — was a little more substantial. But even so, the news was received in my house with a large yawn.

This, supposedly, was the highest temperature recorded in Britain in July. But that is only if you discount the 38.1C recorded in Tonbridge on July 22, 1868. This record is faithfully listed in my dog-eared copy of The English Climate by H. H. Lamb, of the Meteorological Office, (published 1954) but has now been struck from the records on the basis that the thermometer and its housing is not now considered to have conformed to modern standards. Of course it didn’t: it was built in the 1860s, that’s why.

The real reason the 1868 heatwave has been wiped from the historical record, of course, is that it is highly inconvenient for the global warming lobby. How can you scare people into thinking that every hot summer day constitutes yet more evidence of man-made meteorological doom when actually it was even more sizzling back on that balmy day in Tonbridge when gentlemen were briefly driven to remove their stove-pipe hats?

Logically, of course, if you strike out one Victorian record you should strike them all out. Yet, whenever it suits them, members of the global warming brigade are more than happy to quote dubious anecdotal evidence to try to prove their point that we are all slowly being fried.

The reason weather records keep getting broken, both in Britain and the world at large, is not so much that the world is becoming warmer — or, as is alternatively asserted in the case of a record freeze, the climate is becoming more extreme. It is because there are many more recording stations than there used to be, t increasing the chances that an extreme climatic event will be recorded. Moreover, compared with old thermometers, modern recording equipment is capable of registering very brief increases in temperature of a few seconds’ duration.
Not to mention that the last century has seen a warming trend that followed a several hundred year colder climate from the 15th-19th centuries. "Climate change" advocates back then would probably have called for ways to increase the temperature, lest the world turn into a giant ice cube.

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