Skip to content

Is California’s Heatwave Really So Hot?

August 19, 2020

By Paul Homewood



A temperature of 54.4C – or 129.9F – has been recorded in Death Valley, California, in what some extreme weather watchers believe could be the hottest reading ever reliably recorded on the planet.

The United States National Weather Service’s automated weather station at Furnace Creek near the border with Nevada hit the extreme high at 3:41pm on Sunday afternoon, a statement said.

 The heat wave across the western United States is expected to last until Wednesday

The heatwave in California has been making the news this week, and it is also being blamed for rolling blackouts in the state. But has it been exceptionally hot?

We normally see reports of “record” temperatures at big city sites. But what about rural ones? Lemon Cove is a small town of about 300 people, and lies just north of Bakersfield and west of Death Valley. It is also a long running, high quality USHCN site.

Temperatures this month have peaked at 109F:



Yet 109F is not in the least unusual there. The highest temperature on record was 115f, set in 1931 and again in 1933:



Indeed, 50 years have exceeded 109F.

Of course, thermometers at Lemon Cove are not placed on concrete parking lots, or next to airport runways!



  1. August 19, 2020 2:03 pm

    “A temperature of 54.4C – or 129.9F – has been recorded in Death Valley, California, in what some extreme weather watchers believe could be the hottest reading ever reliably recorded on the planet”

    Maybe so but irrelevant in the AGW context. AGW is a theory about long term trends in global mean temperature. There is no way to relate localized temperature events to AGW.

  2. C Lynch permalink
    August 19, 2020 2:26 pm

    The propaganda is so relentless. It must feel like playing a constant exhausting game of whack a mole for people like you Paul trying to counter this endless tide of bilge.
    Don’t weaken in your resolve as the record of your rebuttals of this chicanery will be valuable when these charlatans are called to account.

  3. mjr permalink
    August 19, 2020 2:36 pm

    Lemon Cove is certainly a more representative location to show a temperature log for the whole of California and an indication of how bad this “heatwave” is.
    However it is too far from Furnace Creek and Death Valley to indicate anything about temperatures there. I once stopped whilst driving through Furnace Creek in October and it was hot. Really cleared my hangover after a night, many years ago, playing pool with a Pyute Shoshone guy called John in Independence. Local conditions in Furnace Creek could well result in a temperature anomaly and a record temperature.

    • JerryC permalink
      August 19, 2020 7:00 pm

      The name Furnace Creek might be a clue that extreme temps are not unusual there.

  4. Broadlands permalink
    August 19, 2020 2:47 pm

    Yes, It’s all about scaring people. It is not about any viable solution. As was pointed out, many very hot localized temperatures go back into the 1930s. None of them could possibly be caused by the human production of CO2 from the oxidation of fossil fuels to provide our energy. Natural variability is commonly mentioned (El-Nino?) but is simply assumed to be the result of this added CO2. It is even said to be the cause of localized reef-coral bleaching. Charlatans indeed.

  5. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 19, 2020 3:14 pm

    What is the Guardian’s motivation when peddling alarm? To sell newspapers I assume. I don’t believe that’s very moral really. And the editor is famous for ordering his spineless journos to use extravagant language when writing about the weather. Falsity . They deserve to go broke.

    • StephenP permalink
      August 19, 2020 6:40 pm

      I am afraid that some journos really believe what they have been told, and believe they are being virtuous in writing these articles.
      Some friends of my wife are true believers, but for the sake of marital harmony I am told I have to bite my tongue.

      • Robin Lambert permalink
        August 19, 2020 6:47 pm

        the ”Guardian” Founded by Slave Supporter &Anti-Lincoln mill owner john Edward Taylor in May 1821 should fold,I believe the BBC buys most of their 75,000 daily sales, i think Sun sells 5-6Million daily?..

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 20, 2020 10:17 am

      To change the world so it fits with their opinions of what it should be like.

  6. August 19, 2020 4:15 pm

    And here in Los Angeles, this record heat wave was not even approached.

    Aug 17, 1885 – 194
    Aug 18, 1885 – 102
    Aug 19, 1885 – 106 (record high for month of Aug)

    In fact 10 of the still standing high temp records were set prior to 1900.

    Similar stats for June, July and Sept.

    All w/o any potential AGW, and absolutely no UHIE.

    • August 19, 2020 4:38 pm

      Oops – that 194 just might be incorrect. hehe – should be 104.

      Was a real burner.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      August 19, 2020 4:58 pm

      All those were from before we had digital thermometers so they are not reliable.

      Which is a neat trick of logic.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 19, 2020 4:41 pm

    Here’s another classic, having erased the 1940-80 cooling, they have to invent reasons why sea level didn’t go up as much as ‘expected’!

    Ground water extraction is certainly adding to sea level rise – water table levels on land are unnaturally low – less water is stored there, why not worry about that causing an exaggeration in sea level rise from warming?

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 19, 2020 4:44 pm

      There is published research on the latter of course, but these days it’s mostly to dismiss the contribution as ‘far less than thought’ etc.

      • Broadlands permalink
        August 19, 2020 5:10 pm

        Yes, it’s always more or less than was thought. A seeming indictment of the models. Perhaps that’s why the modelers keep adjusting the models as well as the data that go into them. Sooner or later they will announce that it’s exactly what we thought? A can’t lose, win-win proposition.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      August 19, 2020 5:19 pm

      It is easy to dismiss that. If you sum the capacity of all the large dams in the world (there’s a wiki page) you get 580 x 10^9 m2 capacity. The surface area of the ocean is 361,900,000 km2. Spread the water from all the dams over the surface of the ocean and the sea level rise is 1.6mm. So dams have in fact diminished sea level rise by 1.6mm since 1967. Not a lot.

  8. Robin Lambert permalink
    August 19, 2020 5:54 pm

    Well thought out Replies. I sense More people are Reacting to ”Climateistas” propaganda by mainstream Media..? SARS2 is most important then us,European economy.Hopefully there will be a Tida wave against climate hysteria?..

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 19, 2020 6:36 pm

    ULEZ nonsense:

    In other words, diesel contributes 18.7% to NOx emissions (100x(1-1/1.23)), so it is not a prime source. If there are traffic hotspots, they will be helped by ensuring as free a flow of traffic as possible. The work also takes no account of differing emissions of NOx according to the age of the vehicle. A modern Adblue equipped vehicle will have essentially zero NOx emissions.

    • mjr permalink
      August 19, 2020 8:18 pm

      a typical BBC environment report .. that starts quite factually for them and finishes with pure propaganda

      • John189 permalink
        August 19, 2020 9:21 pm

        Translation of the final “pure propaganda” is “It’s OK to mince a few birds because we are saving the planet”. I love it!

  10. ellyssen permalink
    August 19, 2020 9:16 pm

    What makes this more unusual than similar heat waves in the past is that the weather is holding the heat in, instead of cooling off. Places that got to 109 in the shade also had 90 degrees at 10pm at night.

  11. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    August 19, 2020 10:08 pm

    Of course, thermometers at Lemon Cove are not placed on concrete parking lots, or next to airport runways!

    And neither is there a thermometer at the Lat/Long given in the table at the link —
    as that is in the middle of a small street.

    What am I missing?

  12. I_am_not_a_robot permalink
    August 19, 2020 10:34 pm

    No state has done more to fight climate change™ than California and yet it is still not enough.
    Despite the futility of it all my guess is they will double down and build more solar and wind: ‘fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim’ (George Santayana).

    • August 20, 2020 9:19 am

      They say the problem is ‘not enough batteries’ 🤣

      • Harry Davidson permalink
        August 20, 2020 10:43 am

        Why do they go for batteries? They don’t last very long and their efficiency isn’t wonderful. Pumped water storage (Dinorwig) has good efficiency and it doesn’t wear out. It’s also extremely useful whatever kind of base load generation you use.

    • yonason permalink
      August 20, 2020 11:56 am

      What normal people hear…

      “No state has wasted more resources and caused more harm to it’s citizens fighting a losing battle against the imaginary boogieman of climate change™ than California”

  13. LeedsChris permalink
    August 19, 2020 11:21 pm

    The temperature recorded at Furnace Creek, Death Valley this week isn’t even the record high for that location. 56.7c was recorded there on 10th July 1913 and is considered the highest recorded temperature on earth. The World Meteorological Organisation examined this record again in 2012 and were happy to certify it as correct. 50c and above has been recorded there in every month from May through to September at some point.

  14. George Reagan permalink
    August 20, 2020 1:01 am

    That’s why it is called “Death Valley” !!!!  It’s a desert, land locked between two mountain ranges.  DUH.________________________________________

  15. rwf1 permalink
    August 20, 2020 1:47 am

    I live in Calif, and this heatwave is a nothingburger! The hype and fear mongering does not stop….the ignorance is astounding to see.

  16. yonason permalink
    August 20, 2020 2:55 am

    I don’t know about the heat (probably within normal range), but it probably hasn’t been this dark at night for a long time

  17. Peter permalink
    August 20, 2020 3:28 am

    “the hottest reading ever reliably recorded on the planet”

    They are talking about reliable records. This means there are also unreliable records. How do they tell the difference between what is a reliable record and an unreliable record?

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      August 20, 2020 4:39 am

      An unreliable record is one that happened a long time ago in the BC (Before Carbon) era which is bigger than the one that they want you to believe is a record now. Nothing that happened BC is reliable if it disagrees with the well-understood fact that everything climatewise is getting worse.

    • I_am_not_a_robot permalink
      August 20, 2020 8:12 am

      Prof Humlum @ climate4you makes these comments apropos the many changes to the surface record:
      ” … both NCDC and GISS often experience quite large administrative changes, and therefore essentially must be considered unstable records …
      … for obvious reasons, as the past do not change, an unstable record cannot be correct all the time …
      … a temperature record which keeps on changing the past hardly can qualify as being correct … “.

    • LeedsChris permalink
      August 20, 2020 8:14 am

      See my previous post. They are lying. There IS a previous Official higher temperature reading at the same site in Death Valley in 1913. This record was reconfirmed as an official record by the World Meteorological Office as recently as 2012.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      August 20, 2020 10:15 am

      A reliable record shows what they want, an unreliable records doesn’t. And if course all “unreliable ” records are too high, never too low – or as you would expect absent a systematic problem – a mixture of the two.

  18. August 20, 2020 3:15 pm

    Note the carefully chosen weasel words: “some extreme weather watchers believe could be…: Who are these weather watchers? How many of them, if any, did the Guardian survey? What objective research did these weather watchers conduct while forming their beliefs? Without this disclosure I ma tempted to believe that the journalist who wrote this story simply made this up without checking with any “extreme weather watchers”.

  19. August 20, 2020 10:05 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:

    in what some extreme weather watchers believe could be the hottest reading ever reliably recorded on the planet.

    If you consider the past, and that our forebears were not complete blithering scientific neanderthals, you could easily comment on the belief this measurement is amoung the hottest ever recorded since records began in the Late Victorian era. The reliability of information is always open to question when there is a confluence with political and personal ideology – then as now.

    The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: