Central England Temperatures 1659-2016

There has been no change in UK average temperatures in summer(JJA) or in Spring(MAM) for the last 367 years. The two hottest summers were 1826 (17.6C) and 1976(17.8C). I remember 1976 as the perfect summer with two months of continuous sunshine, causing a severe drought.  The two coldest winters were 1740 (-0.73C) and 1963 (-0.07C). 1963 was the perfect time to be a small child aged 10, sledging every weekend. These extremes have not been exceeded for the last 40 years.

Monthly averaged temperatures for winter(DJF), Spring (MAM), Summer (JJA) and Autumn (SON). Data curtesy of the UK Met Office

If you are looking for  evidence of climate change in the UK then you will notice a possible small upturn of < 1C since 1950 during Autumn and Winter. This supports the argument made in the last post that any small increase in CO2 forcing mainly changes meridional heat transport during winter. It could also be due to the urban heating effect from buildings during winter months.

Here is the annual data. The one you see plotted say by Ed Hawkins is instead as temperature ‘anomalies’ relative to a 1961-1990 average. This is baseline is represented by the bottom red line.

CET Annual average temperatures. The two red lines show the 1961-1990 average used by Hadley and CRU to define anomalies.

On that basis you could argue that the  UK has ‘warmed’ by 0.6 ± 0.4C since 1960. That increase is due to changes in  autumn and winter temperatures.

Update: On request of Joe Public here is the comparison to CO2 levels in the atmosphere as measured at  Mauna-Loa extrapolated back to  1750 (280 ppm)

About Clive Best

PhD High Energy Physics Worked at CERN, Rutherford Lab, JET, JRC, OSVision
This entry was posted in AGW, Climate Change, UK Met Office. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Central England Temperatures 1659-2016

  1. Joe Public says:

    Any chance of plotting CO2 on the ‘CET Annual average temperatures’ chart, so its influence (or lack of) can be observed?

      • Joe Public says:

        Bloody hell, that was quick. Thanks Clive!

      • Clive would you give some details of the extrapolation from 1959 to 1750 for co2 levels please.

        From 1960 there is a much better correlation between change in CO2 level from previous year and temperature anomaly – for what it’s worth.


        • Clive Best says:

          Hi Jeremy,

          All I did was to extrapolate backwards from 1959 to 1750 using an exponential decay. There is also some ice core data on CO2 which I used in the post about the BERN carbon model, which more or less agrees with this (yellow trace below)

          Yes CO2 is clearly ‘correlated’ with temperature anomalies, but it isn’t a simple cause and effect relationship. CO2 is usually be a feedback as during the glacial cycles. Today it is a forcing on climate. If CO2 emissions stabilise then warming will slow rather quickly. The key first aim is first to stop increasing emissions.

          • subchak says:

            I think you are still using correlation to causation by saying that lowering Co2 will lower temperature. How if that is true you dont see that heavy relationships earlier. Also more Co2 causes plants to thrive even in less water and hence the overall effect on life on earth will have no or negative effect. Stop blaming Co2. Look at many other factors in the climate. By over focusing on Co2 you will destroy the earth.

  2. Ron Graf says:

    Clive, thanks for you posts.

    I notice in the CET plot that the dips associated with the 1883 Krakatoa eruption and 1815 Tambora (3X larger) are barely discernible. In your opinion is this due to the small affect of the major volcanic events or is it that CET variability is dominated by the AMOC? Is there any accurate time plot (not Rahmstorf (2015) of the strength of the AMOC? If so, can you link it or compare it with the CET plot? Thanks.

  3. Stop Lying You Twat says:

    This graph looks nothing like the actual data. Nice try though. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_England_temperature

    • Clive Best says:

      The data are identical. The graph shown in wikipedia is the annual average temperatures. This should be compared to the second graph shown above. The values agree perfectly.

      CET data are also published for each month of each year. The seasonal data are then calculated from this using 3 monthly averages for each season. This is the first graph which shows that summer and spring show no warming effect. Only Autumn and Winter show small warming post 1950.

      So my graphs are correct. Nice try though!

      • James says:

        Yeah, I noticed the Wikipedia graph used average, but gave no indication of how they calculated that average. Was the average in 1700 based on data prior to that date or post? And how was average from the first year of date calculated? By month? By year? Math can be fun, but can also be used as a tool. Like when crime went up 200% in my neighborhood. The previous year there was only one robbery.

    • Your name apparently some you up to a tee your foul mouthed person

  4. Clive Best says:

    Quotes from the terrible winter of 1740.

    Dr Huxham of Plymouth

    December The weather in this month was altogether surprising; in the beginning we had a northeast wind and a severe frost, presently a rainy and turbulent south wind; in a very short time after a southwesterly and a great deal of rain, the barometer nevertheless rising. The 14th and 15th, the wind was northwest; the 16th, northeast and a return of the frost; the 19th and 20th, a violent southeast; on the 21st again, a stormy southwest; from that of an easterly, a cold northeast wind intervening, the 25th and 27th then a most severe storm from the east, with an exceeding severe frost and a constant exceedingly small snow to the very end. In an instant, a most piercing cold froze up everything, both within doors and without, nay, the very strongest kinds of wines were frozen; indeed whatever was exposed to the air instantly turned to ice. . People even shivered by the largest firesides nor could keep themselves warm in their very beds.

    The severity of the cold still continued, such indeed, as was never known in this country. Although the first day of the month, there was a great thaw and a fall of rain, nevertheless the northeasterly wind and a most sharp frost instantly returned which lasted til the very end of the month and although the heat of the sun; all things thawed by day, yet by night were bound by a most rigid frost. The coldest days were the 11th, 15th, 16th, 17th , 18th, 26th, 27th, 28th; nay so severe was the frost which now prevailed that all kinds of wine being exposed out of doors which immediately turned to ice , nay, the very saltwater upon the shores was so, a thing this which very seldom happens in these parts. Innumerable trees and shrubs were cut off by the cold and even the very hardy furzes themselves. A vast number of seabirds flew hither and numbers from foreign countries , which had never been seen here before.

    George Smith, Richmand, Surrey

    “Thames froze over in 4 days, storm of wind 48 hours (30th Dec) Some people walked over the Thames (1st Jan) Frost continued till February 1st, when a thaw began in day, frost returning each night. Ice all gone in Thames upward but not broke about London (Feb 11th) Ice beings to run in Thames (13th Feb) Ice broke in Thames (17th) Ice gone at London (23rd) This was the severest frost I ever known and the most kindly thaw. No rain, roads good, all garden stuff destroyed. Hard frost again in March. A very backward spring, dry and dusty as summer, no considerable rain for 3 months past; the river a slow as ever known. (31st Mar) Very great storm of snow and wind from 10 to 2 (21st Apr) A very cold unkind season (30th Apr) Extraordinarily dry dusty and cold, very unpleasant season (31st May) The coldest weather ever known at Michaelmas, piercing cold (30th Sep) A very unkind year, no good fruit, nor warm weather ; winter severe; storms and frost with great snow.”

  5. Pingback: Central England Temperatures 1659-2016 – Climate Collections

  6. Joe Public says:

    Clive, if you’re unaware – a new post on WUWT:

    “What do three CET reference weather stations used by the Met Office have in common?”


  7. Tony Price says:

    How about the FIVE hottest summers? 1826, 1976, 1995, 2003, 2005?
    How about the fact your first chart has no trend or smoothing to prove your claim, and that summer temps have increased from 15°C in 1559-60 to around 16°C in recent years?
    How about the fact that the summer average for the first 20 years 1559-1678 is 15.2°C, and the last 20 years 1997-2016 is 15.92°C?

  8. Tony Price says:

    Not much use quoting Winter temps – you’ve averaged January, February and December from the SAME YEAR. That’s averaging parts of TWO winters. Winter 1963 wasn’t one of the two coldest, but the third coldest. 1684 was coldest at -1.67°C, followed by 1740 at -0.4°C, and 1963 at -0.33°C. When I was a small child, winter was December, January, February, in that order, and still is.

    • Clive Best says:

      Yes you’re right. I was being lazy because I didn’t want to write software. So I did it anyway and here is the winter calculated correctly D,J,F where December is from the previous year.

      Yes indeed 1684 is the coldest !

  9. Tony Price says:

    Yes, I do, but not using your “trend” which isn’t a trend, but looks like Loess with a rather high smoothing parameter. Smoothing ain’t a trend by any mathematical definition. How many summers over 17°C, and when did they occur?

    • Clive Best says:

      You mean by a trend a linear fit to a straight line, while I mean a decadal moving average.
      We’re still waiting for another glorious summer like 1976. It has not yet been equaled.

  10. John Niclasen says:

    Hi Clive!

    Interesting to look at the CET for seasons. You write:

    “If you are looking for evidence of climate change in the UK then you will notice a possible small upturn of < 1C since 1950 during Autumn and Winter. This supports the argument made in the last post that any small increase in CO2 forcing mainly changes meridional heat transport during winter. It could also be due to the urban heating effect from buildings during winter months."

    There could be another explanation.

    The Meteorological Office continued the CET from 1974, and they don't use temperatures from e.g. Oxford as the original temperature series. Philip Eden write about it here and link to his own version more in line with the original temperature series:


    I plotted his data from 1971 on, and it shows another picture. I don't seem to be able to upload my plot here!?

    John Niclasen
    (Master degree in physics)

  11. Mark says:

    However the UK is between the Atlantic Ocean where temperatures have actually fallen south of Iceland and continental Europe and Russia where temperatures have increased so our CET series as you would expect shows little increase over recent years as we are between the ocean and large land mass.

    • Ron Graf says:

      Mark, you are correct that CET must be influenced by the North Atlantic, which I think has a warming hole south of Greenland. If the CET in fact has been stabilized by a marine cooling effect, the separation of trend of winter from summer looks a lot like a UHI fingerprint.

  12. * Some notes on fear of death from summer heat. *

    I noticed the same with Swedish temperature series from Stockholm. The summer months has not increased much since 1756.

    I think the sun dominates by heating objects in the summer but in the winter solar power is off. Ocean temperatures then become the more dominating heating source.

    As the direct solar heating capacity of some 1000 Watt per square meter on a summers day is enormous compared to ~1-2 Watt extra power from CO2 – the direct contribution to drive the temperature to a maximum is negligible.

    Energy imbalances from earth to outer space is a long term relationship and slowly, slowly increases/decreases the global energy store.

    Global warming/cooling is not the sun frying us. It is a radiative imbalance noticeable by checking the energy content in oceans, land and air.

    It is a large thermal battery. It will not be able to kill us instantly, but rather slowly.

  13. cockneygit says:

    Thanks for your website, Clive. Just came here because I just can’t believe the Met’s CET! Yesterday (here in Reading) it seemed VERY cool for late May.

  14. Justin Semmens says:

    Clive ae you still posting updates? – would like your opinion on the recent summer 2022 – did it match 1976?

  15. Joe Staffurth says:

    Rather late in the day I have just checked your CET seasonal data against the Met Office current data (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/maps-and-data/uk-temperature-rainfall-and-sunshine-time-series) and noticed that your data has less cooling in the past than the Met Office. Where can I find the source of your data?
    Joe Staffurth

    • Clive Best says:

      My HadCET was downloaded in 2017, whereas I see that Hadley are regularly updating it and apparently the effect is to generate a stronger warming trend. The only way they can do that is by “correcting” the thermometer measurements recorded by hand. The particular stations used are a fixed set.

  16. Buzz Watson says:

    Re-visiting this, I plotted my birthday, July 11th, into a graph from 30 years of Met Office data of that day…and got a flat line – no warming in 30 years for a summer day chosen at random. I plotted January 1st, and got an upward trend for 30 years. What atmospheric mechanism would bring about suppressed summer warming for such a long period of time? CO2 doesn’t work that way.

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