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Record Heat Claims In California Last Month Are Fake

September 9, 2020

By Paul Homewood

You will recall the media hype over “record heat” in California last month.

I published some graphs showing the claims were nonsense, but promised to update them when all the data was in:


Rather than using the big city sites, loved by the media, I focussed on smaller towns in California, with long, high quality records on USHCN. They cover most of the state geographically, roughly in a north to south direction.

The graphs below plot the highest temperature recorded each summer, using the CLIMOD database of official NOAA data:







Clearly there was nothing “record breaking” about any of these sites, and at most of them there is a clear decline in temperatures since the early to mid 20thC. Probably the only exception to this is Pasadena, where the temperature station is next to the busy runway of Burbank Glendale airport! in the middle of the city.
[Livermore still has no data for August, but according to CLIMOD the airport site there reached 108F]

Two other notes.

I gather the media is now claiming that although temperatures may not be any higher than the past in California, heatwaves last longer and stretch into spring and autumn.

This is another lie. Below is the plot of the number of days 100F and over in Los Angeles for the full year (UHI not withstanding!!). This year, by the way has only seen one 100F day.


Even with the UHI at Downtown LA, there is no increasing trend in duration of heatwaves, which if anything seem to have peaked in the 1950-90 period.

Secondly, I have tracked down the weather station where the “record temperature” of 121F claimed at Woodland Hills was recorded:




It is located close to a line of scrubby bushes, with trees close by as well. Looks like a bit of a sun trap to me.

  1. trevorshurmer permalink
    September 9, 2020 12:51 pm

    Typical, well done as usual Paul.

  2. Christopher Hall permalink
    September 9, 2020 12:54 pm

    It is so good to see some real evidence refuting the subjective claims of the climate emergency zealots. However with ministers like Michael Gove sucking up to Greta and taking the knee at every opportunity, how are we to get the Government to roll back it’s ludicrous net zero target; no plan, no cost and no chance of succeeding?

  3. jack broughton permalink
    September 9, 2020 1:01 pm

    Excellent presentation of how anyone can see without complicated analysis that the records show wide variability and no systematic change. Statistical analysis can only present possibilities / probabilities from the data: the visual trends say it all.

    I keep coming back to the question “Why are the media and government advisers so unwilling to look at the information and question the clear dishonesty?” It is going to come out – then they will hide behind the “scientists and experts” that they have selected now.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      September 10, 2020 7:14 am

      Big business. Car manufacturers looking at selling millions of new cars, with the old ones being scrapped, rather than fulfilling demand from the second hand market. Wind & solar subsidy harvesting companies partying, ditto battery manufacturers, even nuclear might get a look in.

  4. Gamecock permalink
    September 9, 2020 1:10 pm

    ‘It is located close to a line of scrubby bushes, with trees close by as well. Looks like a bit of a sun trap to me.’

    Same deal with site of 2012 South Carolina “state record.” The selection, ratification, and presentation were juvenile. What they call “science.”

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    September 9, 2020 1:17 pm

    Paul, on the subject of false reports, your friend McGrath was on the news at lunch time banging on about the fall in CO2 emmisions over lockdown has had little or no affect on temps and, anyway, the still high level of resident CO2 in the atmosphere means what low level of emmisions there are are all the more effective because of the overall level of CO2.
    You couldn’t make it up….unfortunately, he seems to.

  6. Gamecock permalink
    September 9, 2020 1:20 pm

    “Climate change is certainly increasing the frequency, severity and duration of extreme heat and warm nights,” said Flavio Lehner, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

    Define ‘climate change.’

    “It is safe to assume that climate change [whatever that means] contributed to the extreme nature of recent events,” though only a dedicated study could attribute to what extent.

    Then why do you attribute it to climate change (sic)? Outrageous claim, then built in disclaimer. You can’t have it both ways. Unless you are a “scientist.”

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 9, 2020 2:50 pm

      Once again they have it A about face. Climate is made up of the weather over a 30 year period (says the IPCC!), so if climate changed to affect the weather it’s because of a long-term change in the weather that affected the climate – which seems to have affected the weather…recurring.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        September 9, 2020 4:19 pm

        I noticed in a Met Office ‘paper’ I came across the other day claiming 17% more rain in the UK falls in extreme bursts (or something like that), they had merely compared the most recent 10 years of ‘weather’ with the previous 30 year ‘climate’ period! Meaningless drivel.

      • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
        September 9, 2020 10:14 pm

        Please give up on the climate=30years.
        “30” comes from a ‘Statistics 101’ concept; not climate

        “Climate Normals” are defined to meet pre-digital reporting of weather data. Officially 1935, I think. Search it up.

        Climate is a totally different concept.

        Climates do not change easily because of things such as Latitude, marine versus continental locations, mountain ranges, and elevation.
        A C° up or down for the average temperature of London will not make it feel like Madrid, Spain.

      • Gamecock permalink
        September 9, 2020 10:31 pm

        Yes, Harry. Climate change, if real, and it’s not, is a RESULT. It cannot be a cause.

      • Philip Mulholland permalink
        September 10, 2020 11:00 am

        “they had merely compared the most recent 10 years of ‘weather’ with the previous 30 year ‘climate’ period!”
        Mr Grim
        Actually, that is quite interesting and it may be significant, but not for the usual “it’s worse that we thought” trademark reasons.

        My first point is that to define climate as 30 years of weather is just intellectually lazy. Statistical records of weather are how we measure climate, but not what climate actually is. In other words, a description of something is not an explanation of its cause.

        A better measure of climate is to acknowledge the existence of the natural 60-year weather cycle first identified by the Russian school of meteorologists in the 1940s. Our weather patterns have switched in the last few years from the part of the cycle dominated by west-east zonal flow in the Ferrel cell to north-south meridional patterns that bring moist air north and cold air south, generating local storms with a greater rainfall intensity (Ooh look, Climate Change! /sarc.)

        In our paper “Return to Earth: A New Mathematical Model of the Earth’s Climate” we offer a new definition of climate based on its historic roots revised by our modern knowledge of atmospheric processes. We propose that climate be defined as the presence and action of a particular atmospheric circulation cell type within a given planetary latitudinal zone.
        This explanation of climate is based on physical processes and is widely applicable. For example, the slowly rotating planet Venus, with its single planetary encompassing pair of Hadley cells, is acknowledged by this definition to have a uniform planetary climate.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      September 10, 2020 9:01 am

      It’s not even clear those things are increasing, let alone why if they are. But that is the entirety of the issue. Its possible we are seeing some changes in some things, but its not at all clear whether these are long-term, part of natural variation, part of natural cycles nor what are the causes if they are long term.

      That’s why we are sceptics. Over the last decade, despite increased shrieking from the media there remains no clear evidence.

      • dave permalink
        September 10, 2020 10:54 am

        It is absolutely necessary to the propaganda that every unusual event have the word unprecedented applied. Unprecedented wild fire sounds as if someone who knows what they are talking about has actually looked thousands of years into the past. WE know that is a lie.

    • Latus Dextro permalink
      September 10, 2020 9:13 pm

      Definition – a very important and revealing point. It pays to establish the definition in use. The conflation of real language with redefined UN lingua franca is endemic, nay essential, to the UNEP globalist corporatist neo-Marxist ideology. For example, UN ‘civil society’, comprised of those several thousand accredited NGOs recognised and part of the drive to implement the 2030 ‘Transformational’ Agenda and Urban Agenda Habitat III. Question; what or who are you should you not be part of ‘civil’ society?
      As for ‘climate change’, I am sure you know that four definitions for ‘climate change’ appear, including the one used by the UNFCCC. There appears a single definition for ‘climate variation’, the latter being the ‘natural’ random chaos, free of anthropogenic influence.
      In the case of the former, the alteration of atmospheric composition and/or land usage by direct/indirect anthropogenic influence constitutes ‘climate change’. Worthy of noting therefore, it is impossible to zero ‘climate change’ without expunging humanity from the face of the globe. Consequently, the ideology is revealed as the scientivism is unfalsifiable. So, it appears that the only way to zero ‘climate change’ and rid the World of the incessant political justification to peddle the neo-Marxist dope is to disband the charade and cease believing that a climate dialectic actually exists. It doesn’t and never did.
      Climatism, safeism, healthism and racism, the 4 horsemen of the UNapocalypse will not stop until they are.
      ‘The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape joining the ranks of the insane’. Marcus Aurelius Augustus

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 9, 2020 2:01 pm

    Groundhog day?

    On BBC 5Live this morning Campbell was interviewing Rowlatt about this – what a treat. Could it get any more unscientifically alarmist and climate stupid?

    • Mack permalink
      September 9, 2020 3:06 pm

      Groundhog Day indeed Mr Grim. When the BBC was banging on again today about the Thwaites Glacier melting away from below and how we’re all going to drown because of our carbon sins I was just waiting to hear from one of the eminent scientists they interviewed about the wonderful geothermal and volcanic hotspots directly underneath the bloody thing that might possibly be contributing to the melting claimed. Of course, not a word. It’s all our fault.

  8. mjr permalink
    September 9, 2020 2:02 pm

    Paul .. BBC going overboard on Climate Change today .

    Both of these are featured on their home page
    “UN report: Covid crisis does little to slow climate change” Matt McGrath

    “Thwaites: ‘Doomsday Glacier’ vulnerability seen in new maps” Jonathan Amos
    However the catastrophic sea level rises following this melt also subject of a very long Justin Rowlatt feature on the BBC1 13.00 news (and so probably on radio news as well

    Also, “Sudan floods: Nile water level threatens ancient pyramids” This doesnt mention climate change but does say these are record breaking Nile levels (highest level since records began more than a century ago) so included as another scare story

    • mjr permalink
      September 9, 2020 2:36 pm

      i see Harry above has already noted McGrath also on radio news

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        September 9, 2020 3:01 pm

        Yes, and McGrath added another level of hyperbole to the mix: He claimed that the Thwaites glacier could add more than 10 feet (I thought the BBC had gone metric…) to world sea levels ‘within our grand-children’s lifetime’ (WTF!!)

        Which shares the prize for the dumbest description of cause and effect with what he also said about temps and reduced emissions earlier: that lower emissions had not (yet) brought down temps. (does he not understand that a) CO2 does not raise temps; temps raise CO2 over a period of approx 800 years.) and even if CO2 raised temps he would need to tell us what the time lag was for the cause and effect.

      • Gamecock permalink
        September 11, 2020 10:38 pm

        “Thwaites glacier could add more than 10 feet to world sea levels ‘within our grand-children’s lifetime’”

        Presumably they’ll be able to walk and will get away from the rise without drowning.

  9. Genghis permalink
    September 9, 2020 8:13 pm


    Having grown up near Pasadena I can attest to the fact that it is not a small city and directly adjacent to downtown Los Angeles. Its temperatures exhibit the same “heat Island” effect as Los Angeles and should not be included in the small town list.

    Also, your point as to the “sun trap” is well taken. That is exactly why I did not register my weather station with NOAA.

  10. Francis permalink
    September 9, 2020 8:20 pm

    With respect to the Woodland Hills observing site, it has been decades since I have been involved with official standards for the taking of surface weather observations but I noted two aspects of this site that are “nonstandard”: It looks likes the surface on which the building and weather equipment are located is old asphalt (e.g. compare to the colour of the adjacent road.) And it appears the thermometer screen is located too close to the onsite building. (The standard used to be it had to be removed from the building by at least four times the height of the building. (Don’t know if that standard has changed.) Agree with your comment about the proximity of the trees and note that the wind instruments are mounted on masts that are taller than standard.

    Not wanting to sound as ancient as I am, but, “back in my day” this site would not have been considered for inclusion in a climate data collection network.

  11. Phil O'Sophical permalink
    September 9, 2020 11:09 pm

    Even good news is rebranded by alarmists as bad news. Daily Telegraph Nature Notes reports a study (inevitably) has shown that increasing CO2 is making trees grow faster. (Why did they need at study? I knew that as a schoolchild.) But that’s good you would think; at least they have publicly admitted CO2’s effect on plants. Have they recognised, too, the greening of the Earth and consequent benefit to food production and forestation? Of course not. The trees then die younger, they wail, reducing the length of time for them to lock away greenhouse gases.

    • dave permalink
      September 10, 2020 11:13 am

      Old trees fix very little carbon dioxide. That majestic old oak is like modern Western thought…heavyweight and much more dead than alive.

      Similarly when a stream is running clear its biological productivity is high. When it is full of vegetation that vegetation is almost inactive.

      Ecology 101!

  12. September 10, 2020 3:53 am

    “Clearly there was nothing “record breaking” about any of these sites, and at most of them there is a clear decline in temperatures since the early to mid 20thC”

    What does it look like in the post ETCW period?

    But more to the point, does this temperature have an AGW interpretation?

  13. September 10, 2020 9:54 pm

    Just up at the Los Angeles Times:

    In the midst of the state’s most destructive wildfire season, California has garnered another dubious distinction: the hottest August on record in California, according to a report from UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain.

  14. Anziani permalink
    September 11, 2020 5:13 pm

    Paul, you were off a mile when you said that the Pasadena Station was near the Burbank Airport runway. Pasadena is 14.6 MILES away.

    • September 11, 2020 6:33 pm

      Well spotted, the station is actually in Downtown Pasadena, and not the airport, which only has data since 1939

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