Is it hotter than normal?

I remember the summer of 1976 very well indeed, both for the heat and for the West Indies’s victory over England in the test series, including bowling England out for 71 at Old Trafford.

Protons for Breakfast

MaxTemp_Average_1981-2010_June This map shows how the average of the maximum daily temperature in June varies across the UK.

It was hot last night. And hot today. But is this hotter than normal? Is this global warming?

Human beings have a remarkably poor perspective on such questions for two reasons.

  • Firstly we only experience the weather in a single place which may not be representative of a country or region. And certainly not the entire Earth!
  • And secondly, our memory of previous weather is poor. Can you remember whether last winter was warmer or colder than average?

Personally I thought last winter was cold. But it was not.

Another reason to love the Met Office.

The Met Office have created carefully written digests of past weather, with month-by-month summaries.

You can see their summaries here and use links from that page to chase historical month-by-month data for the UK…

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4 Responses to “Is it hotter than normal?”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    I was at that Test match, having come home after my first year at Cambridge, and remember well England’s excellent start when Mike Selvey took three quick wickets. Gordon Greenidge got West Indies out of the mire with a century in each innings and their brilliant quicks then blew us away. This was the year that Tony Greig ill-advisedly said that he would make West Indies grovel.

    The first Test was an equally-matched draw, the second at Lords England would actually have won but for rain, but then West Indies thrashed us in the last three, Viv Richards hitting a remarkable number of runs in the series and Michael Holding in particular bowling beautifully. England recalled veteran hard man Brian Close, and David Steele showed characteristic guts, but it made no difference.

    Incidentally Hampshire had the best two opening batsmen in the world at that time, Gordon Greenidge and Barry Richards. I remember them putting the vaunted Australian quicks to the sword in a tour match while I was on holiday on the south coast in the mid-1970s.

    • telescoper Says:

      I remember David Steele very well. John Arlott described him walking out to bat like “a bank clerk gone to war”…

    • telescoper Says:

      Dennis Amiss scored a superb double century at the Oval. Here’s a video of the highlights, but the main thing to note is the sun-blasted Oval pitch!

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        That summer was the one time my father and I quit a (county championship) match at Old Trafford during play because of the heat. Play was actually halted at the Oval in July 1868 due to excessive heat.

        I was present at the only occasion in first class cricket that cold has stopped play, at Fenners on April 24th 1981 during Cambridge University vs Essex. I still have the front page of a newspaper from the next day, reporting it and also showing Yorkshire cricketers messing around with bat and ball in snow on the 24th after their warm-up (!) match vs Leicestershire had of necessity been halted. That front page is the source of my comment about the Oval in 1868. (I was also at day one of the notorious “snow in June” match, Derby vs Lancs at Buxton in 1975.)

        In those days Old Trafford was literally next door to the Manchester Hardrock, the country’s first dedicated rock venue. I remember one glorious day of watching cricket and then going to see Focus, who were a great band. I was also at the Hardrock for Cockney Rebel’s final gig before they split. Steve Harley seemed a bit emotional and I realised why when the news emerged. It can’t have helped his mood that during one of their songs, “Sebastian”, which has a repeated slow refrain “Somebody called me Sebastian”, somebody called out “Sebastian!” from the audience each time. Today the Hardrock is a defunct B&Q warehouse, sadly. I parked near it on Tuesday which I spent at day 2 of Lancs vs Hants.

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