Sacramento’s Hottest August (Next To Highway!)

By Paul Homewood

h/t Rick P


 One reader has managed to find somewhere in California where last month was the hottest August on record:


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — We all know August 2020 was hot, but did you know how hot it really was?

Almost every single day in downtown Sacramento was much hotter than average with 13 days of 100 degrees or hotter. The month saw very warm mornings with above-average temperatures and very hot afternoons.

The middle of the month saw one of the longest and hottest heat waves in Sacramento history with eight days in a row of 100 degrees of heat.

Downtown Sacramento also recorded the hottest temperature ever for the month at 112 degrees. That kind of heat has not been seen in Sacramento in more than a decade.

If you take the average highs for the month they were 6 degrees above average at 98.4 degrees. If you take the average lows for the month they were almost 5 degrees warmer than average at 66.2 degrees.

The remarkably hot August set the stage for one of the biggest fire outbreaks in California history when dry lightning created more than 500 fires in two days.

And, indeed, CLIMOD confirm this:


One slight problem, however. Sacramento Executive Airport, just ten miles away, shows August 2020 as just fourth hottest, behind 1967, 1969 and 1996:


The reason for the discrepancy is clear. The weather station (marked in blue) where the record was set is in the middle of the city, next to a six-lane highway and a giant tarmac carpark. (I don’t know what the area to the east is – any ideas?)




If we test some of the other claims out, using the airport data, we again find nothing unprecedented about last month.

For instance, the top temperature last month was 112F, but the highest summer temperature was 115F in 1961:




And there were seven days of 100F and over, which is not unusual in the least. Once again August 1967, 1969 and 1996 stand out as much more exceptional weather:



The simple fact is that the siting of the weather station in Sacramento is totally unsuitable, and the gradual temperature rise over time merely reflects UHI.

The airport site, it has to be said, is little better, a fact which highlights how poor the city location is.


Examples such as this cast grave doubts about the reliability of NOAA’s national temperature records, which rely heavily on sites like these.


September 21, 2020 at 04:09AM

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