There is at least one thing about this summer of 2018 on which we can all agree: the past months have unquestionably been swelteringly, abnormally hot.
And not just here in Britain, but in many other countries right across the northern hemisphere.
In the UK, our own heatwave began in May and has continued relentlessly ever since. In Japan, where one city claimed the highest temperature ever recorded in that country, topping 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Centigrade), the heatwave has been declared ‘a natural disaster’.
Meanwhile, wildfires in Greece have killed at least 80 people, leading to claims that this has been the worst disaster of its kind seen in Europe since World War II.
There have been numerous other claims of temperature records being broken, all the way from California to Armenia and Azerbaijan (although here in Britain we have not so far seen anything to equal the 101.3f — 38.5c — that was recorded near Faversham, Kent, on August 10, 2003).
But more sober experts have raised question marks over the reliability of these temperature measurements, because of the siting of the thermometers which recorded them.
In every case, it turned out, they broke the golden rule that such thermometers must not be placed near heat-retaining structures or surfaces, such as in the centre of large cities, near airport runways or on Tarmac car parks.
This is because their readings are then distorted by the so-called ‘urban heat island effect’, which can exaggerate temperatures by up to 2 degrees Celsius or more.
One comical example of this was on June 28, when the UK Met Office rushed to announce that the 91.7f (33.2c) reached at Motherwell made it the hottest temperature recorded in Scotland.'
Read more: Yes it's scorching, but claims that the heatwave is down to climate change are just hot air: June was even hotter when Victoria was on the throne, writes CHRISTOPHER BOOKER
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13 September 2018
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