UK heatwave: How do temperatures compare with 1976?

by P. Homewood, July 24, 2022 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

People on social media have been comparing the high temperatures in much of the UK with the heatwave of 1976, suggesting that the severity of the current hot weather is being exaggerated.

So, what does the evidence show?

How hot was the summer of 1976?

The peak that year was 35.9C. That has been beaten by the current temperatures, with 40.3C recorded so far.

The heatwave of 1976 started in June and lasted for two months. There was a lack of rainfall and a significant drought, with the government enforcing water rationing.

The heatwave was rare for that decade. The average maximum temperature in July in the 1970s was 18.7C. In the 2010s, it was more than 20C.