Originally posted on ClimateREALISM
Great Britain News (GBN), which advertises itself as ‘Britain’s News Channel’, recently ran a story claiming that the warm temperatures soon to arrive would make Britain’s residents sweat or bake. Warmer temperatures can be expected as the northern hemisphere transitions from winter to spring and summer, there is nothing worrying or unusual about that. Although the headline suggests the mini-heatwave is dangerous, “UK weather: mini-heatwave to see Brits bake in 20C as hot air pours in from Europe”, data and history itself says nothing of the sort out of.
The GBN article, picked up by other news outlets including The Express and The Mirror, states:
A mini-heatwave is set to sweep across Britain, with forecasters predicting temperatures above the 20C mark in just a few weeks.
The Met Office says a hot, humid cloud of air from Spain and France will cause temperatures to warm towards the end of April.
The “baking heat wave” headline might look alarming to those unfamiliar with temperature scales taught in 5th grade elementary school, but to anyone who knows even the bare minimum about temperature scales, the headline is ridiculous.
The reason the headline is ridiculous can be found in a simple Google search:
You read that right, 20°C equals 20°C – i.e. interior temperature. It seems that GBN reporter Georgina Cutler, or possibly the editors who ran the headline, don’t understand that room temperature is what the majority of people find comfortable.
This graph from Science Notes shows the range of comfortable room temperatures as defined by three different organizations. One says:
“Room temperature is the temperature or temperature range that is comfortable for humans. It may be defined in science, but in practice it’s 20 to 22 degrees Celsius or 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Note that 20°C (68°F) is on the low end of the scale in the graph above, some people might find it a bit chilly.
The GBN implied dangerous temperatures pending through the use of specific colors in the graphic provided. The GBN story did not provide a color key for their temperature chart (see below), which made the chart appear like Britain was ‘baking’ as the headline claimed.
For comparison, here’s what the actual temperature chart for April 19 looks like, just two days after the GBN story aired, from the same source:
So much for this “baking” heatwave.
Indeed, despite the alarming headline, the story itself acknowledges that warmer weather is overdue and that most people will likely welcome it.
GBN quotes British Weather Service meteorologist Jim Dale as saying: “[a] a very warm or hot spell is overdue.” Additionally, GBN quotes Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon as saying: “After a choppy period, it will finally feel like we’re getting into the later part of spring, in Towards a more summer regime. The temperatures will feel quite comfortable.”
This sad affair shows how bad the media is at reporting basic facts about the weather, let alone the climate. One has to wonder why the sensational, attention-grabbing headline didn’t reflect what the story was actually reporting, which was that after an uncomfortable winter, a pleasant spring warming was finally on the way.
Anthony Watts is a Senior Fellow in Environment and Climate at the Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business since 1978 both on and off camera as an on-air television meteorologist and currently makes daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather tools, and co-authored peer-reviewed articles on climate issues. He runs the world’s most visited climate website, the award-winning website wattsupwiththat.com.
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