DEFRA versus Met Office: Fact-checking the state of the UK climate

  • Date: 23/10/18
  • Global Warming Policy Foundation

Review of official data finds UK climate is more stable than predicted

London, 23 October: Met Office weather data shows that the UK’s climate is changing very little. That’s according to a new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The review, which examines official temperature, rainfall, drought and other weather data shows that although temperatures increased slightly in the 1990s and 2000s, there is no evidence that weather has become more extreme. And intriguingly, extreme heat is, if anything, slightly less common than in previous decades.

In particular, heatwaves have not become more severe and nor have droughts. Data also suggest that recent warming has had little effect on the severity of flooding in the UK.

It’s the same story with rainfall. While Scotland has become a little wetter, elsewhere in the UK there is no trend. Extreme rainfall and storms don’t seem to be more common either. It’s hard not to come away with the impression that the climate in the UK has been much more stable than predicted. As the report’s author Paul Homewood points out,

“Although we don’t seem to be getting more heatwaves, there are fewer very cold days now. Similarly, very dry years seem to be less common than they once were. It’s hard to construe these as dangerous or damaging developments. Warmer, but not more extreme, sounds more like a Goldilocks climate than a climate catastrophe.”

Full paper: DEFRA versus Met Office: Fact-checking the state of the UK climate (pdf)