Every record-high temperature reported over the last few days in the Los Angeles area are from weather stations “compromised by heat sources and heat sinks,” according to a veteran meteorologist.
“In my opinion, the data from these stations is worthless,” California-based meteorologist Anthony Watts wrote on his blog Watts Up With That.
That’s not to say Los Angeles wasn’t scorching hot. Temperatures in much of greater Los Angeles were in the triple digits, according to the National Weather Service.
On the contrary, what Watts claims is that artificial heat sources and sinks produce localized heat around weather stations, adding the few degrees necessary to qualify as records. In general, cities are warmer than surrounding countryside owing to the urban heat island effect.
“It’s on top of the parking garage at the LA Department of Power and Light, which I first identified in 2008,” Watts wrote.
That’s important because U.K. meteorologists rejected a record-high temperature reading at Motherwell, Scotland, on June 28 because an ice cream truck had idled nearby with its engine on, possibly contaminating the reading.
Scotland’s record-high reading came amid what some are calling a global heat wave, which has produced record readings across the world. Some media outlets, including The Washington Post, tried to link the heat wave to man-made global warming.
“No single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming,” the Post reported, trying to link summer weather to global warming. “But collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world.”