It’s Gettin’ Hot In Here

Was skimming through my RSS reader and this chart posted on LAist caught my eye:

That lead me to this article “Cool Summer, Warm Future: Extreme Heat Days Increase for Southern California” published by NASA’s JPL which just finished a study where they were trying to find out why it’s so damn hot. They write:

“One hundred years of daily temperature data in Los Angeles were analyzed by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the University of California, Berkeley; and California State University, Los Angeles. They found that the number of extreme heat days (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32.2 degrees Celsius in downtown Los Angeles) has increased sharply over the past century. A century ago, the region averaged about two such days a year; today the average is more than 25. In addition, the duration of heat waves (two or more extreme heat days in a row) has also soared, from two-day events a century ago to one- to two-week events today.

“We found an astonishing trend – a dramatic increase in the number of heat waves per year,” says Arbi Tamrazian, lead author of the study, and a senior at the University of California, Berkeley.

They say that not only has it been increasing, but it’s going to keep on that trend and we’re going to see longer and hotter heatwaves in the years to come. But before anyone freaks out about global warming, that doesn’t seem to be the cause here. Instead point your finger at something called “urban heat island effect.” Basically this effect is seen worldwide and comes from buildings, cars, lawns, and every other damn thing that makes something a city absorbing heat and making urban areas up to 10 degrees hotter than surrounding areas. Couple that with the temperature in Southern California to begin with and bang, heat wave. Read the full article here if you are so inclined.

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