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Met Office Caught Out Over Its ‘Hottest July Day Ever’ Claim

Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph

Since my story last week headed “Mystery grows over Met Office’s ‘hottest day’”, there have been further developments. How could the Met Office justify its widely publicised claim that July 1 was the hottest July day recorded in Britain, based solely on a reading of 36.7 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit) made at Heathrow airport?

When the blogger Paul Homewood (on Notalotofpeopleknowthat) tracked down four weather stations around Heathrow, none showed readings on July 1 above 35.1. He wondered how far the Met Office figure might have been influenced by the siting of its Heathrow temperature gauge, shown by aerial photographs to be surrounded by heat-radiating Tarmac and near a runway.

He therefore asked the Met Office for further details about how its figure was arrived at. Its reply was that this information could only be supplied for £75 plus VAT. But it then, in light of all the interest this was arousing, issued a long press release. Despite claiming that its Heathrow weather station met all the requirements of the World Meteorological Organisation, it failed to answer any of the relevant questions. What it did include, however, was a graph revealing that the wholly untypical 36.7 figure had only been fleetingly reached in a marked 1.7 degree temperature spike at 2.15pm. Was this merely caused by a blast of hot air from a passing airliner? No answer on this from the Met Office.

But this was the only evidence for its claim, blazoned unquestioningly across the media, that July 1 2015 was the hottest July day ever recorded (still significantly less than the highest temperatures recorded in August). We have long known that the Met Office will do almost anything to promote its fond belief that the world is growing ever hotter. But do we pay it £220 million a year (and its chief scientist, Dame Julia Slingo, a salary with pension rights worth £240,000) for genuine science? Or just for propaganda? If the latter, we are not getting much of a deal.

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