The Heat Island Effect

Earth temperature went down -0.5 degrees 1941-1951 (Source: HadCRUT global sea-air database)

Climate change has left the arena of pure science and entered into the realm of social consciousness and the murky world of politics.

On a vastly larger scale today, what is happening now is much like the 1950s when a social scientific concern arose over a coming ice-age. Reader’s Digest started the craze in 1958.

Back then, over a period of 10 years from 1941 to 1951, the Earth’s temperature dropped about -0.5 degrees. Also, the realization that we were within a temporary interglacial warm period had just become widely known. Ice-age concerns arose again in the 1970s.

On a geologic scale, glacial cold is gonna soon return. The big question is when.

Earth temperature went up +0.5 degrees 1979-1998 (Source: HadCRUT global sea-air database)

Then, from 1979 to 1998, the Earth’s temperature spiked the other way about +0.5 degrees. The fickle pendulum of human opinion swung the opposite direction.

Since then the specter of human-caused global warming has raised its ugly head.

Earth temperature has remained steady from 1998-2012 (Source: HadCRUT global sea-air database)

However, in the 15 years since 1998 the Earth’s temperature has remained static or dipped slightly. Yet, pushed by the UN, the global warming craze remains.

Once a government entity gets created all reasoned logic evaporates. Its primary purpose often becomes perpetuating its own existence.

Such is the case with the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. An email announcement says they’ve proposed a study of things called urban heat islands with Cal/EPA.

Heat Islands

The concept is not new. Its been known for decades that urban centers affect their local weather.

Urban growth paves over the land with buildings, roads and parking lots that absorb warmth. That, combined with heat generating human activities, makes urban centers hotter and wetter than their rural surroundings.

Climatologists have dubbed it the urban heat island effect.

Rising humidity is blamed for the demise of once popular humidity dryers in Phoenix, Arizona.

Climate Change and Heat Islands

Most official weather stations are located in urban centers.

It’s not coincidence that the rise in global temperatures coincides with the growth of urban centers throughout the world.

It is known that urban heat islands artificially raise Earth’s measured temperature. How much is unknown. IPCC models, therefore, can’t account for its effect.

Because of heat islands, weather station placement away from heat generating surroundings is a known but, so-far, largely ignored concern.

However, since 1850 Earth’s population has grown by an astonishing 17 times from 1.2 billion to 7 billion and most of that growth is in urban centers where the weather stations are.

In Steps Government

Thinking progressive, California’s Office of Planning and Research recognizes the urban heat island effect, but wrongly attributes it to CO2-induced global warming instead of the other way around.

In the proposed study, their goal is to quantify average temperature increases due to the heat island effect that will assist in urban planning to mitigate its local effects.


The good news is that the urban heat island effect is real and quantifying it in order to plan for reducing its effects on communities is needed.

In an unintended way, California’s proposed study will be doing the world a great service in two ways:

  1. Quantify a very real, human-caused climate effect
  2. Weaken the AGW (CO2-caused global warming) theory

That sounds contradictory, but isn’t. According to the IPCC, the entire effect of CO2-induced global warming is a +0.8 degree temperature increase since 1880.

Once measured, the urban heat island effect can be subtracted from the +0.8 degrees.

That means that the overall effect of CO2 emissions is less than currently believed.

That means untold billions is being spent internationally to reduce atmospheric CO2 when it would be better spent in local communities where it is needed.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, in climate change, culture, economics, Government, IPCC, news, Opinion, Politics, science, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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