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knocker

The August 2003 heatwave in the United Kingdom: Part 2 – The hottest sites

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5 hours ago, knocker said:

Given the current situation this has some relevance

hottest sites.pdf 441.53 kB · 17 downloads

Thank you for sharing that, Malcolm, it is an interesting read.  I also note that the Gravesend and Faversham stations are no more, and (my opinion) Kent is not the likely high point tomorrow, I think Cambridge or close by.  I think Cambridge or somewhere close by was the previous record holder prior to 2003?  Anyway, only 24 hours to go now!

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Posted (edited)

 

7 hours ago, knocker said:

Given the current situation this has some relevance

hottest sites.pdf 441.53 kB · 23 downloads

Thanks. This is very interesting and us would have been a useful addition to my recent thread about weather station siting.

It further shows the Met Office have some problems with sites and encroachment over time, particularly windbreaks next to the temperature probe in Faversham's case. They are too close (less than 30m) and they grow, rendering the station possibly poor quality and inconsistent. Quality checking them with other weather stations with problems does not seem very scientific! I'm amazed how sloppy this whole system seems to be. Faversham looks like it would be class 3 or Class 4 with those hedges. My thread suggests Northolt is Class 3 and St James and Heathrow are probably Class 4, when the Met Office's strangely vague guidelines (as far as I can detemrine) seem to equate to desiring Class 2 stations or better. Kew is a good one and probably scrapes into Class1 as do some airport sites like Benson. My own opinion is Heathrow Airport is atrocious and should be disregarded - far too much heat source clutter has built up within 30m, and some even within 10m, around the station over decades, making it inconsistent and probably misleadingly high at times - and that excludes runways or plane exhausts arguments which look red herrings as the North Runway is outside the Class 1 limit of 100m. Yet people argue about that and not the cornucopia of problems that are right next to it!

Edited by Aleman

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So the authors conclude the 38.5c maximum from Faversham was too high and should be disregarded as the UK’s highest recorded temperature? 

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4 hours ago, Mike Poole said:

Thank you for sharing that, Malcolm, it is an interesting read.  I also note that the Gravesend and Faversham stations are no more, and (my opinion) Kent is not the likely high point tomorrow, I think Cambridge or close by.  I think Cambridge or somewhere close by was the previous record holder prior to 2003?  Anyway, only 24 hours to go now!

Sounds like I'm in with a good shout of seeing the new record here then! 

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A very interesting article and surely doubts will persist if the 38.5 degrees isn’t beaten today (although I think it will be).

12 hours ago, Mike Poole said:

Thank you for sharing that, Malcolm, it is an interesting read.  I also note that the Gravesend and Faversham stations are no more, and (my opinion) Kent is not the likely high point tomorrow, I think Cambridge or close by.  I think Cambridge or somewhere close by was the previous record holder prior to 2003?  Anyway, only 24 hours to go now!

The previous record was Cheltenham at 37.1 degrees on 3rd August 1990.👍 I also recall Cambridge being an official site a few years back but also not sure this is now?  Too much tinkering for me with the weather stations over recent years and in my view, with the climate change debate raging on, these sites must be given stronger protections (ie via national planning policies) and more closely regulated (eg no large trees or bushes within the vicinity that could impact the temperature). Also quite amazing that last year the Scottish record was almost broken because of an adjacent ice cream van running its engines! 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Mr Bartlettazores said:

A very interesting article and surely doubts will persist if the 38.5 degrees isn’t beaten today (although I think it will be).

The previous record was Cheltenham at 37.1 degrees on 3rd August 1990.👍 I also recall Cambridge being an official site a few years back but also not sure this is now?  

Cambridge has two official sites: the NIAB automated site (which I believe is the one that took the July record today) and the Botanic Gardens manual site (which presumably reports at the end of the day?)

Edited by Rob K

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Thank you for confirming Rob K. I did indeed notice earlier on after it was on the way to claiming the hottest July day today! It’s a shame that there aren’t the Faversham (at least officially) and Gravesend stations to compare to previous heatwaves though - particularly 2003. 

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12 hours ago, Mr Bartlettazores said:

A very interesting article and surely doubts will persist if the 38.5 degrees isn’t beaten today (although I think it will be).

The previous record was Cheltenham at 37.1 degrees on 3rd August 1990.👍 I also recall Cambridge being an official site a few years back but also not sure this is now?  Too much tinkering for me with the weather stations over recent years and in my view, with the climate change debate raging on, these sites must be given stronger protections (ie via national planning policies) and more closely regulated (eg no large trees or bushes within the vicinity that could impact the temperature). Also quite amazing that last year the Scottish record was almost broken because of an adjacent ice cream van running its engines! 

A bit off-topic, but this reminded me of a couple of years back when Lancaster University's Aurorawatch site still sent out alerts. I remember receiving a red alert email one day followed later by an apologetic email that this was a false positive caused by a nearby lawnmower!

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Yes I remember that as I follow AurorawatchUK on Facebook. I think they were very embarrassed at that and there were a lot of annoyed people. 😳

To get back on topic, it would be really interesting to see a study on today’s weather, temperatures and observation sites, a bit like the study for 2003 which Knocker pointed out. 

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Posted (edited)

The Burt/Eden paper concluded that the 2003 record should be held by Kew Gardens, at 38.1°C, which was matched exactly today by Cambridge, but I can't comment on the Cambridge site yet. The Met Office response is lacking in detail (unlike the paper it summarily dismissed) and was criticised in follow-up letters by some well respected meteorologists or researchers, who point out inadequacies and at least one error in the official response.

Martin Rowley's letter (a former Met Office Chief forecaster IIRC) at https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1256/wea.213.04

Jonathan Shanklin/Steve Colwell (British Antarctic Survey based at Cambridge)
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1256/wea.217.04

and Bob Prichard (BBC Meteorologist on duty on that date)
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1256/wea.217.04

All make valid points supportive of Burt and Eden. To my mind, which I suspect is somewhat more enquiring than the Met Office were at the time, the official record should be (at least until today!) Kew at 38.1°C

Edited by DaveL

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