The Guardian: “Sunny coverage of UK heatwaves forgets risks, say climate experts”

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

UK Climate grinch Bob Ward and other climate experts think journalists should project more misery and doom when describing glorious Summer beach weather.

Sunny coverage of UK heatwaves forgets risks, say climate experts

Experts say unusually dry and sunny conditions like those experienced in the UK over the past two months are too often framed as something to celebrate, with newspaper and TV reports featuring pictures of people sunbathing, playing in fountains or eating ice creams.

Instead, the experts say, people should be made aware of the risks associated with increasingly hot summers, especially for vulnerable groups, and they should be helped to “join the dots” to see heatwaves and flooding in the context of the wider climate crisis.

“I am afraid the media have not woken up to the risks associated with hot and dry weather and that can help lull the population into a state of ignorance about the extent and severity of those risks,” said Bob Ward, from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

He said elderly people and those with underlying health conditions were at risk from more regular heatwaves – a danger often compounded by poorly insulated houses or care homes.

“It is all very well to be talking about visits to the beach because it is going to be sunny and hot but we must recognise that there are real risks too, particularly for vulnerable groups of people,” Ward said.

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For shame Britain. Instead of getting out and enjoying Summer weather, you should have taken shelter indoors against the deadly 28C+ (82F) heatwaves, keeping your children safe from the horrors of T-shirt weather, and telling climate doomsday stories to help your kids learn that warm sunny beach weather is the enemy.

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Tom Halla
June 4, 2020 2:04 pm

28 C a heat wave? That is a warm day in January here in central Texas.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 4, 2020 2:58 pm

Here in Central Queensland 28 is a warm winter day or a cool summer one. I live on a cattle station and we have a rule that our grass doesn’t grow well unless temperatures are at least 28°

B d Clark
Reply to  zw
June 4, 2020 3:24 pm

That’s exactly what the druggies say in the uk

Reply to  zw
June 4, 2020 7:12 pm

Britain regards anything above 25 deg C. as a heatwave, summer is not always sunny in the UK, it is a time when you hope to have a couple of “barbecue weekends”.

He [ Ward ] said elderly people and those with underlying health conditions were at risk from more regular heatwaves – a danger often compounded by poorly insulated houses or care homes.

Thanks to BoJo sending COVID infected patients back into “care homes” to infect the weakest and most vulnerable, there are very few elderly people with underlying health conditions left to be affected by fake climate crisis.

Reply to  Greg
June 5, 2020 2:44 am

Odd how the same old people retire to , when they can , sunny dry places in the south rather than colder less sunny places in the north !

Reply to  zw
June 5, 2020 12:38 am

Why do people think that living somewhere hot makes them special?

Reply to  Matt_S
June 5, 2020 3:29 am

The point I was making is not that living somewhere hot makes us special but that the article was inferring that 28° is hot and will kill people. I live somewhere that proves that wrong (and yet is still cool compared to many other places).

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 4, 2020 3:17 pm

I was going to say!

It’s not summer if it isn’t 32+ C and waterfalls of sweat aren’t pouring down my face.

Ron Long
Reply to  leowaj
June 4, 2020 3:24 pm

Guys, it’s the UK. Their oficial flower is mildew. Leave them alone in their woolies. Just saying.

Reply to  Ron Long
June 4, 2020 10:30 pm

” Their oficial flower is mildew”

Ha ha ha

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  Ron Long
June 5, 2020 1:03 am

Indeed harsh, but apt. Today it’s throwing it down, and the temperature is unlikely to get above 14C here in the Midlands of the UK – it feels like summer just ended. Can you guess why we get excited when the temperature gets over 20C and the sky turns blue?

Which makes Bob Ward’s comment about house insulation all the more stupid. Hardly anyone has air conditioning here, summer is not the problem. What you need is insulation certainly, and a ruddy great boiler (furnace) to keep the cold and damp out 9 months of the year!

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Amos E. Stone
June 5, 2020 12:16 pm

By the time the records from around the word are compiled and ‘adjusted’, it will be just another day.

Southern California desert (29 Palms area) it’s midday: 98°F and rising, RH <17%. Yesterdays high: 105°F, this mornings low: 77°F. Evaporative (swamp) cooler on 'Low' – currently inside: 86°F. I know when it gets too hot – my wife complains. (A $35 weather 'system', wireless remote outdoor sensor. Supposed 'accuracy': +/- 2°, and the RH reading stops registering at 16%. )

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 4, 2020 5:06 pm

Okay, but what happened to that cold snap in May that blanketed the UK and parts of Europe and Africa (especially South Africa) with deep cold and ice and snow? Is that the “heat wave” they’re talking about?

I still had my furnace running up to June 3rd. If it’s as chilly as the NWS forecast says it will be over the weekend, I may have to run it again. I guess new furnace filters wouldn’t hurt?

Doesn’t seem to bother the bugs or birds, however.

Reply to  Sara
June 4, 2020 10:32 pm

”Okay, but what happened to that cold snap in May that blanketed the UK and parts of Europe and Africa (especially South Africa) with deep cold and ice and snow? Is that the “heat wave” they’re talking about?”

No that’s just weather. Climate change has to be hot!

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 4, 2020 7:03 pm

A couple of years ago we were touring England in May to see gardens. It was a lovely time. Daily highs around 80F (27C). The Brits were all bitching and moaning about how hot it was.

I said stop complaining, this is a lovely spring day. I will let you know when it is hot.

The only real problem is that they have no concept of having ice to put in cold drinks. And their idea of a cold beer is just appalling.

Mr Robert Heath
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
June 5, 2020 12:05 am

Good beer, like good red wine, should not be served frozen unless you are trying to mask its taste

Reply to  Mr Robert Heath
June 5, 2020 2:16 am

Same for whisky. Do what you like with whiskey, though.

Reply to  Oldseadog
June 5, 2020 5:35 am

Have the alarmists shot themselves in the foot ,by acknowledging that the SUN causes the heating ,(& lack of it the cooling ),.
Or is is that just a lot of hot air ?/sarc

John V. Wright
June 4, 2020 2:11 pm

Oh it’s not just Ward. Every time the BBC report on sunny weather, the forecasters do so with an almost apologetic tone. “More warm weather on the way, I’m afraid” is a typical comment or, if the sunny weather is covering the whole country, it’s “there’s no escape from the sunshine”.
However, as soon as a cold, wet, miserable front blows through there is positively a spring in their step. “There’s quite a change on the way” they say, beaming “with welcome downpours for the garden and a chance to dig out your favourite woolly hat”.
I tell you, there is something seriously wrong with these folk. All part of the deeper BBC malaise.

Reply to  John V. Wright
June 4, 2020 3:07 pm

There’s only one thing wrong with the BBC.

It exists.

Reply to  John V. Wright
June 5, 2020 7:27 am

It was the Hottest May on record according to the BBC lie factory. 15th hottest back in reality land.

June 4, 2020 2:14 pm

Vast numbers of Britons spend their summer holidays in those well known near to freezing countries such as Spain, Greece , Italy and the west indies. I know many Americans retire to the coldest states they can find, such as Florida or California.

No wonder we Brits cower in our homes hiding in the ice box So as to escape those near furnace like temperatures when it get over 50 degrees Fahrenheit


F. Ross
Reply to  Tonyb
June 4, 2020 3:35 pm

Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,

B d Clark
June 4, 2020 2:20 pm

There not telling people about snow in Scotland tonight or the 10c drop in temps sinse Tuesday.

Gerry, England
Reply to  B d Clark
June 5, 2020 1:26 am

Oh, yes – sweatshirt and a coat over the long-sleeved t-shirt to go out in the garden yesterday evening. And it is a chilly house first thing this morning. The saving grace is that if there is plenty of sun the house warms nicely. If there isn’t, come evening I have a stack of firewood ready…in June.

June 4, 2020 2:20 pm

From the same crowd that brought you “how dare you have a merry Christmas”.

Now I need a “how dare you enjoy sunshine” t-shirt.

Augustine OBrien
June 4, 2020 2:21 pm

On my first tour of duty (USAF) in England back in the sixties (pre Celsius) I recall a newspaper headline that read something like: 74 again tomorrow no relief in sight. It is still much the same today as many here complain about the heat if it gets into the middle or high 70’s.

Henry Pool
June 4, 2020 2:28 pm

Ja. Ja. The big droughts are coming. Natural climate change. I told you….click on my name.

Reply to  Henry Pool
June 4, 2020 3:19 pm

What drought ?
Germany was partly under water today, no region without rain today.
cumulated rain 24h mm

June 4, 2020 2:29 pm

Not to mention the elevated risk of soaking in deadly dihydrogen monoxide at beaches and pools while enjoying the warmth…

M Courtney
June 4, 2020 2:33 pm

It has been a cloudless, sunny and so dry Spring.
Coincidentally we shutdown transport and industry meaning less particulates in the atmosphere to nucleate clouds.
No. That can’t be the reason. The BBC said it was exactly what we would expect from Co2 caused climate change.
If particulates caused clouds then the world would have warmed when the Clean Air acts were passed.

June 4, 2020 2:34 pm

Who would believe any statement from the Guardian,?
When I tell people that Europe suffered a deadly heat wave in 1540 they think I am making it up .
It is well documented and the population were not using fossil fuel.
The present mild warming is not unprecedented and there is no proof that this warming is not natural climate variability .
CO2 is not the control knob of the climate and it is well know that its effects are logarithmic as it increases in the atmosphere .
The only way that the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will warm the earth more than 1 degree C is through positive water vapour feed back and the tropical hotspot .
Despite frantic searching by climate scientists neither have been proven to exist.
The world has been warmer than present 3 times in the last 10,000 years but these events have been cooled down by scientists because they don’t fit the alarmist narrative .

Reply to  Gwan
June 4, 2020 3:26 pm


I wrote an article some 10 years ago about changing climate. This extract relates to your comment.

‘Our modern bouts of amnesia regarding previous climatic conditions can be seen to be nothing new by reading the comments from the annals of Dumfermline Scotland from 1733/4, when it recorded that wheat was first grown in the district in 1733. Lamb wryly observes that was not correct, as enough wheat had been grown further north in the early 1500’s to sustain an export trade (before the 1560’s downturn).

This information also usefully confirms a warm period around that date, to one that had changed to a cold period by the time of Pastor Schaller commenting in 1560.’

Reply to  Tonyb
June 5, 2020 2:23 am

While mostly agreeing with you the people were using fossil fuel in 1540. It was and is called wood and peat.

June 4, 2020 2:35 pm

What a depressing world we live in, From greta to BLM, whites kneeling for being privileged 😐 California mayor taking away 100/150 million from the police to help african Americans 😐 Even the usa embassy was attacked in Greece .

I’m from the uk, and the warm weather was absolutely lovely, my garden loved the sun and did everybody else in england, give us more….

David Kamakaris
June 4, 2020 2:54 pm

Griff!! Are you ok in this heat wave? Let us know because all of us are worried about you.

June 4, 2020 2:57 pm

“He said elderly people and those with underlying health conditions were at risk from more regular heatwaves – a danger often compounded by poorly insulated houses or care homes.”
The UK has no “elderly people and those with underlying health conditions” any longer, Corona Virus has taken care of that.

Jim Whelan
Reply to  Vuk
June 4, 2020 5:38 pm

That danger is nothing compared to the danger of cold weather on those same people and the same causes.

June 4, 2020 3:09 pm

Does Ward have a copyright contract with Greta ?

Right-Handed Shark
June 4, 2020 3:22 pm

They have a point. Here in my part of the UK it has been a slightly warmer than average spring, and a glance skywards reveals the reason why. Few, if any, contrails! Clearly these narrow plumes of vapour override the greenhouse effect of CO2 by reflecting that nasty solar radiation, so we need to get more planes in the air and fast! Sorry greenies, this is vitally important to keep the temperature increase below the fabled tipping point of 1.5ºC since pre-industrial times. You know it makes sense! Get those planes up now!

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
June 4, 2020 3:42 pm

The only bad was, the unvisible contrails were due to the very dry air over Europe.

June 4, 2020 3:38 pm

They post fun sunburn articles like this one too.

Ian Coleman
June 4, 2020 3:39 pm

Boy those Brits are a hard luck bunch. First they had to repel the Germans in the Big Unpleasantness of the early 1940s and now they must endure this new horror of 28 degree weather. It jus never ends for those people.

I live in western Canada, and 28 degrees really is hot enough to set people here complaining about the heat. About 20 degrees is generally considered ideal in the summer here.

29 million people live in Texas, including Willie Nelson, who can afford to move to Canada. That man has done too much weed, I’d say.

Stephen Skinner
June 4, 2020 4:29 pm

“He said elderly people and those with underlying health conditions were at risk from more regular heatwaves – a danger often compounded by poorly insulated houses or care homes.”
1. So the elderly are at greater risk of dying than younger people
2. Most houses have double glazing so as to keep heat in. This means that in a heat wave it’s difficult to cool houses down. Who’d of thought?

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  Stephen Skinner
June 5, 2020 1:38 am

Nope. We just open the windows. One thing we Brits can’t get the hang of is opening the windows at night, then closing them, and the blinds, during the day to keep the ‘heat’ out.

Reply to  Amos E. Stone
June 5, 2020 4:48 am

All windows open, a fan ore more, don’t see / saw any problem.
If not, rel. humidity increases to intolrable levels.

Reply to  Amos E. Stone
June 5, 2020 6:29 am

You can’t let the noxious night air in. Got to keep those windows tightly shut.

Clarky of Oz
June 4, 2020 4:55 pm

“He said elderly people and those with underlying health conditions were at risk from more regular heatwaves – a danger often compounded by poorly insulated houses or care homes.”

Two points with regard to this statement. If the houses were poorly insulated then surely thousands would be dying of the cold in winter or do the poms have some magical one way insulation.

If the houses are poorly insulated, then insulate the bloody things. It’s not hard. Only don’t follow Kevin bloody Rudd’s methods used here in Australia a few years ago.

June 4, 2020 5:32 pm

Sunny coverage of UK heatwaves forgets risks, say climate experts

Well, “experts” are always frightened about something or other, and they expect everyone else to validate their fears. Oh, and everyone must send them money — more research is required, don’t you know. 😉

June 4, 2020 5:36 pm

“I am afraid the media have not woken up to the risks of sunny weather”

Yes sir. Of course.
I know exactly what you mean.

These people may be able to help.

Geoff Sherrington
June 4, 2020 5:51 pm

Fellow bloggers can do a lot more than chat about matters like heat waves. You can get data and do calculations that challenge official lines of propaganda.
Like “heat waves are getting longer, hotter and more frequent” is an official line here in Australia.
I live in Melbourne, one of the 6 State capitals that together host about 70% of our population. I did an analysis of temperatures for these 6 cities and found that the above claim was more often wrong than right. Where the people live, where it matters for planning for hospitals, emergency services, building standards, energy need for air conditioners and so on.

Challenge the propaganda. You might be surprised how often it is false. Geoff S
raw data and dozens of graphs at

Mike Niblett
June 4, 2020 5:58 pm

The reason for the recent good weather at the moment, is patently obvious, it’s the huge reduction of aircraft.
Yes, I know that doesn’t go down well, but it is a simple fact.

June 4, 2020 6:34 pm

1976, the year of a heatwave in England, when my parents came to stay with us in Cyprus to inspect their new grandson. We had a rather cool summer in Cyprus that year and my parents couldn’t get over the fact that they needed blankets on their bed in Troodos! We had the fortune to be up in the mountains for the only hot days, five of them. Hot in England, cool in Cyprus; most other years it’s the opposite way round.
2003 and 2006 were hot too…it happens every so often. It’s weather.

Anthony M Cooke
June 4, 2020 7:55 pm

As a migrant to Australia from Sunderland England in the late 40s we used to get the local Sunderland Echo sent to my mum from my grandma. I well remember seeing a headline in the paper “Temperature SOARS into the 60s” and it was not 60C.

Al Miller
June 4, 2020 9:59 pm

let’s all be sad and depressed about the weather so that we will give up our freedoms…

Climate believer
June 5, 2020 12:09 am

According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) in the UK:

Although we see that the hot summer weather has had some effect on deaths, the effect of winter is greater, as shown in our excess winter mortality reports. Looking at 2018, the number of deaths in the winter months are consistently higher than the summer months, even with the heatwaves experienced.

The number of deaths during winter is consistently higher than in summer.

June 5, 2020 12:56 am

” Bob Ward and other climate experts”

That implies that Bob Ward is a climate expert.

Ed Zuiderwijk
June 5, 2020 1:08 am

There was a time when such misanthropic doomsayers were covered in tar and feathers and hounded out of the village. Perhaps we should revive the tradition.

June 5, 2020 1:47 am

I’m very confused,

The headline mentions climate experts and then starts quoting Bob Ward!!!

June 5, 2020 1:53 am

Apparently we have topsy-turvy weather that can only be solved by computers

June 5, 2020 2:37 am

Given how hopeless Bob ‘fast fingers ‘ Ward is , I remain amazed that his paymaster , which is NOT the LSE .
Keep shoving money his way .
But it is not a surprise to see those whose career depends on selling doom , moaning that we need to see more ‘doom’

Mark Westaby
June 5, 2020 3:07 am

Apologies if this has been mentioned already but coronavirus has highlighted how deficiencies in vitamin D can cause health problems; and we all know the best source of that.

In addition, obesity is now a major issue in the UK and is also heavily linked with coronavirus deaths, along with diabetes. One of the main reasons for this is lack of exercise and, yet again, this could be mitigated if more people were encouraged to get outside and do more.

None of this requires a PhD but just a bit of common sense. One can only hope that the spate of doom-mongering over recent months will create a backlash against these idiotic ramblings.

In any event, entirely as I expected for one, the UK weather has now returned to “normal”with low temperatues, little sun, rain and wind. In other words, a pretty typical summer for us.

Paul C
June 5, 2020 4:45 am

In England’s maritime climate, in the spring we tend to get mild sunshine and showers, the summer moderate, but humid heat, autumn chilly, damp and blustery, and winter a mixture of cold, freezing, stormy, still, ice and snow. Then the next day is a variation on the same four seasons 🙂 The weather is so changeable that we talk about it every day. As we normally do not get sustained heat, we neither acclimatise to it, or alleviate it in construction or habits – no air conditioning or siesta here. It is never too hot here, just not hot for long enough to get used to it. A high of 12C today and just stopped raining here.

June 5, 2020 12:47 pm

High remains over the North Atlantic due to the low sea surface temperatures.
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June 5, 2020 6:36 pm

A return to the conditions of the Roman Warm Period would be nice, when the Romans made wine in south eastern England. Pity that the signs are the climate is going to get colder over the next several decades. Drink up while you still can.

Reply to  Bruce of Newcastle
June 6, 2020 6:31 am

I don’t think the British wine industry would be interested in returning to such tough growing conditions.

B d Clark
Reply to  Phil.
June 6, 2020 7:26 am

Really philly if the climate goes colder which it is it’s not a matter of interest, it just want happen.

Ulric Lyons
June 7, 2020 5:47 pm

These experts are like worried old ladies getting upset when we don’t believe their superstition. Major summer heatwaves wouldn’t even exist without their discrete solar forcing. Here’s what caused 4 out of the 5 hottest UK summers of the last 50 years. And we don’t have any long term trend in rainfall.

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