Phoenix Sets Temperature Record. Kindof. Sortof.

Yesterday, Phoenix set a new temperature record of 110F for May 19, exceeding the old record of 105F but well short of the May record (set in 1910) of 114F.


The media of course wants to blame it on CO2, but, if one really wants to assign a cause other than just normal random variation, it would be more correct to blame "pavement."  My son and I ran a series of urban heat island tests in Phoenix, and found evening temperatures at the official temperature measurement point in the center of town (at the airport) to be 8-10F higher than the outlying areas.  The daytime UHI effect is probably less, but could easily be 5F or higher.  As further evidence, a small town just outside of the Phoenix urban heat island, called Sacaton, was well short of any temperature records yesterday (Sacaton was the end point of our second, southerly, UHI temperature run).


Here, by the way, is the site survey my son and I conducted on the Sacaton temperature measurement station.  Bruce Hall has a great analysis demonstrating that, contrary to what one might expect, we have actually been setting fewer new state temperature records than we have in the past.

10 thoughts on “Phoenix Sets Temperature Record. Kindof. Sortof.”

  1. Yep. The media would report this as “hottest May for 98 years!!!” Sounds scary doesn’t it? Things must be really hotting up.

    Except, err, this means that there was a hotter May a century ago. Another one to watch out for is when the media reports that a certain event is “worst since records began”. Usually this is for a set of records which began in the 18th or 19th century.

    For example, seeing as we’ve just escaped from a little ice age, it’s no surprise that temperatures are rising slightly each year. It’s also no surprise that as the earth warms, tropical storms intensify. The fallacy is to say that humans must be causing it. “Record breaking” does not mean “earth shattering”, it simply means that it has to be a bit higher than previously recorded.

  2. Cpt. Sunbeam,

    “…also no surprise that as the earth warms, tropical storms intensify.”

    Sorry, you need to check the records. Not happening!!

  3. The media of course wants to blame it on CO2, – oh really? A google news search for ‘Phoenix global warming’ returns nothing relevant.

    kuhnkat – you need to check the research. There’s a clear correlation between sea surface temperatures and power dissipation in tropical storms.


    numerous studies from the world’s leading hurricane experts show no link between warming and hurricane frequency and intensity and that increases in damage done are due entirely to more development along hurricane prone coastlines.

    there is more than one variable is in play here. while i am not inclined to accept “models” of the future as evidence, the chart showing hurricane landfall in the US is quite telling. no correlation to temps (or possibly an inverse one?)

    does anyone have data for cyclone frequency worldwide?

  5. kuhnkat, if tropical storms are’nt in fact getting worse, then so much the better! I’m a skeptic, but I still find it hard to filter out the crap the media feeds us.

  6. Scientist,


    I think this has caused way too many problems already. Correlation is undoubtedly an excellent place to start further research to find out what is actually happening! It is NOT the place to stop and make claims of fact.

    Morganovich’s reference to a post by Anthony Watts is a good place to start to research historical TRENDS.

    IF whatever conditions are required to start and grow a hurricane are in place, higher sea surface temps MAY contribute to an increase in the intensity, but, they have NOT been shown to CAUSE the hurricane or set the intensity or size!!!

  7. If Lorenz is correct, the weather is natuarlly as violent as it can be

    “In the 1 February 2001 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, Lorenz et al. (2001) discuss the somewhat arcane concept of maximum entropy (disorder) production, which posits that a system with fixed boundary conditions and adequate degrees of freedom will always maximize its production of entropy. They begin by noting that this principle has been demonstrated to apply latitudinally to earth’s real-world climate system by data-driven studies stretching back in time a full quarter-century (Paltridge, 1975; Wyant et al., 1988; Grassl, 1990), and that it has more recently been demonstrated to likewise apply in the vertical (Ohmura and Ozuma, 1997). The planetary scientists then go on to demonstrate, again by means of actual data, that the maximum entropy production principle additionally applies to the climate systems of Mars and Titan (a large moon of Saturn), and suggest that it probably also applies to Venus and may have applicability to planets beyond our solar system as well.

    In a popular article describing some of the implications of the study, Lorenz (2001) explains that entropy production is closely related to a system’s capacity to do mechanical work, and that in a climate system such as that of the earth, which is driven by the equator-to-pole temperature gradient created by the latitudinally-dependent receipt of solar radiation, both quantities – entropy and mechanical work – peak at about the same heat flow rate along this gradient, which is intermediate between the extremes of low heat flow (which would produce a much hotter equatorial region and much colder polar regions than exist now) and high heat flow (which would lead to nearly the same temperature everywhere).

    The upshot of this real-world propensity for the maximization of mechanical work by the planet’s complex climate system is that “earth’s climate is finely tuned to be as violent as possible,” says Lorenz, adding that “it can’t get any worse.” In more graphic and picturesque terms, he says “it whips up every last raindrop, wave and gust of wind that it can.” And in the study that he and his colleagues made of the climate systems of Titan and Mars, it was discovered that the atmospheres of these other-worldly spheres function analogously.”

    – A. McIntire

  8. I’m fairly certain that the recent cooling trend we are witnessing is a direct causation of “Scientist Moron Syndrome,” or Troglodytus Maximus, as we binomial nomenclature scientist-type people like to name stuff while we’re on the can, so you skeptics shouldn’t get too cocky yet, because there’s still plenty of damaging political ramifications yet to come after President Obama and her squadron of fun-loving, American Idol, diverse yet tolerant, and non-taxing wonderful Oprah-esque robots, except for the fact that taxes will go way up and you shouldn’t complain because you’re very well off and can’t speak to your diversity quota but it’s a well known fact that ambient temperatures will increase on the 4th floor of every single skyscraper on odd numbered Tuesdays due to your non-compliance of Al Gore’s well-established law of every 4th Tuesday you have to wear a blue shirt.

    -A. Gore.

    PS, That’s a well known scientific fact. Actually. Really. Al.

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