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No, the Western Wildfires Weren’t Caused by ‘Record Heat’

By James Delingpole

California Governor Gavin Newsom wants to blame the wildfires on record-breaking temperatures in LA County. So does Joe Biden; so too does the LA Times which claims that this ‘sizzling summer’ was the ‘Hottest August on Record’ in California. The not-so-subtle implication, of course, is that this is another case of ‘man-made global warming’ putting lives, property and the natural landscape at risk.

But this is pure green propaganda which bears no relation to the actual facts.

In 1859, Los Angeles County recorded temperatures of 133 degrees F. (The ‘record-breaking temperature claimed by Newsom was a relatively balmy 121 degrees F).

According to the 1859 San Francisco Chronicle, cited by Tony Heller:

In…eastern parts of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties, the mercury rose in the shade to the startling figure of 133 degrees.

Cattle full in flesh perished in the fields and birds dropped lifeless from the trees in the withering blast.

It wasn’t just warmer back in 1859. Even as recently as 1983, it was significantly hotter at this time of year in downtown Los Angeles – 4.1 degrees F hotter, in fact, than the recent claimed ‘record’ temperatures.

In fact last month’s heatwave in LA was not unusually severe by historical standards, as the local temperature charts below will  demonstrate. So how come according to the charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this August saw record-breaking temperatures in the Los Angeles region (known as Division 6 – South Coast Drainage)?

Here – courtesy of Paul Homewood – is NOAA’s chart:

According to NOAA, the division also clocked up a new record, just beating 2012 and 1998:


But how exactly did NOAA reach these figures, given that the weather stations within Division 6 tell a completely different story?

Paul Homewood smells a rat. The charts below clearly show that in Division 6 (where LA County is located), this August’s heat was nowhere near record-breaking.

Yet at Downtown LA, it was nowhere a record month, and neither was 2012. The hottest August was in 1983, which was 4.1F hotter than this year:


Neither was the heatwave last month unusually severe, with ten days above 90F. Again, 1983 stands out as much more severe:


Maybe other parts of that Division had much hotter weather last month, with LA somehow escaping it?

But this does not appear to be the case, as San Diego well to the south, also shows exactly the same pattern. Last month was 3.8F cooler than in 1983, and again well down the list of hottest months:


The South Coast Drainage is a narrow coastal strip, so it is unlikely to have any great climate variation from one part to another. It is hard to see how NOAA can justify their “record” claims.

As we have reported before, NOAA has form here. On several occasions eg – herehere and here –  NOAA has been caught red-handed, tampering with raw data in order to suit its alarmist narrative that the world is getting hotter and it’s all man’s fault.

Donald Trump is right about the wildfires.

In fact, in the U.S. – as with last year’s Australian bush fires – the main reason for these conflagrations isn’t ‘climate change’ but poor management, often the result of misguided environmental policy and public objections to the ‘controlled burns’ and underbrush clearances so necessary if larger-scale wild fires are to be avoided.

As Mike Shellenberger notes here, wildfires have always been a problem in California.

And yet the news media, particularly environmental journalists writing for East Coast newspapers, seem intent on painting the fires as apocalyptic, and due mostly to climate change, even though the skies would still be smoky and orange from fires burning the accumulation of wood fuel.

But don’t expect to hear the truth of the matter from Democrats, the left-liberal MSM or the activist scientists at NOAA any time soon.

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