There are a few denier bloggers who like to use the temperature record of Central England to argue that an ice age is coming, or at least to claim, contrary to all evidence, that it's cooling down. That's fallen out of favour lately, probably because the record maintained by the UK Met Office doesn't support their wishes or fears. Tamino has recently written about this record in considerable detail. I was also alerted to an exchange on Twitter started by Andrew Neil, who is with the BBC, Spectator and various other media going by his Twitter tagline. He might excel in some areas, but his research skills are not so hot when it comes to weather and climate. He tweeted:
Despite very warm December, I understand annual Central England Temperature ended up pretty close to the long-term average. Is that correct?— Andrew Neil (@afneil) January 4, 2016
No, Andrew, it's not correct. Given the different responses Andrew Neil got, I thought I'd put up a couple of charts so you can spread them around among the people who deny what's been happening in the middle of that small but important island in the North Atlantic. Since Andrew asked about the long term average, I've plotted it against the twentieth century mean.
First, the changes century by century - going all the way back to 1659. (Note that the daily record for the first few decades is unreliable, but the monthly, which this is derived from, might be okay. Still, I'd take a grain of salt with the left hand column.). This century is only just beginning and the average so far is already more than 0.7 °C (1.26 °F) above the mean of last century. That's huge.
|Fig 1. | Central England temperature by century. Data source: UK Met Office Hadley Centre|
Then the changes decade by decade. The decade from 1996-2005 was 0.79 °C (1.4 °F) above the twentieth century mean, the decade from 2006-2015 was a tad cooler, at 0.63 °C (1.13 °F) above the mean.
|Fig 2. | Central England temperature by decade. Data source: UK Met Office Hadley Centre|
Finally the changes since 1950, showing the trend, which for that period is rising at 0.17 °C (0.3 °F) a decade. Global warming is no slouch in Central England. Last year, 2015, the average for the year was 0.78 °C (1.4 °F) above the twentieth century mean.
|Fig 3. | Central England temperature from 1950. Data source: UK Met Office Hadley Centre|
In the past 27 years, since 1988, the Central England temperature has only dipped below the twentieth century mean three times. In 1993 it barely grazed it. In 1996 it dipped lower and 2010 lower still. 2010 was a relatively cold year in the UK for recent times.
References and further reading
What’s been happening to our weather? - UK Met Office blog article about the warm, wet December
From the HotWhopper archives
- Denier Weirdness: WUWT says Watch Out for the Ice Age! - April 2013
- Ed "Ice Age" Hoskins is at it again on WUWT - July 2013
- Tony Brown's Cooling England - October 2013
- Neil Catto, an innumerate from WUWT, visits Central England - January 2015
- Central England Temperature has fallen out of favour at WUWT - May 2015