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The Warming of Los Angeles

Red Los Angeles Skyline

Red Downtown Los Angeles Skyline. Photo courtesy of Tpsdave & Pixabay.com.

By the end of the 1990s, average temperatures in Los Angeles had risen 3 degrees fahrenheit warmer than those of the 1940s. One key factor is believed to be the dramatic loss of orchards and farmland in Los Angeles County in favor of homes, buildings and roads. The increased percentage of concrete and asphalt served to absorb more solar heat and heat up surrounding atmosphere, causing a massive "urban heat island." Studies suggest that a massive planting of trees in the San Fernando Valley alone might lower average temperatures as much as 9 degrees. After the 1990s, average monthly temperatures overall dropped, although continuing to be higher than those in the 1940s. Since 2010, however, overall average temperatures have again climbed. According to weather data analysis by Vox.com in their 2019 article "Weather 2050", 2050 Los Angeles temperatures are projected to average 3.5 to 3.6 degrees warmer.

Western Blvd Just North of Pico in Los Angeles, 1895 & 2019

Same view of Western Boulevard in Los Angeles, looking north from Pico Boulevard, 1895 and 2019. Photos from California Historical Society collection at USC Library and Google Maps, Copyright 2019 Google.

Average Monthly Temperatures by Decade
Downtown Los Angeles, 1880s - 2010s

Temperatures in Degrees Fahrenheit.

Decade Average Monthly Temperature (F) Temperature Increase Since 1880s
2010-2018* 66.6 +3.9
2000-2009 65.4 +2.7
1990-1999 67.0 +4.3
1980-1989 67.3 +4.6
1970-1979 65.3 +2.6
1960-1969 65.1 +2.4
1950-1959 64.9 +2.2
1940-1949 63.6 +0.9
1930-1939 64.5 +1.8
1920-1929 63.6 +0.9
1910-1919 62.4 -0.3
1900-1909 62.2 -0.5
1890-1899 62.1 -0.6
1880-1889 62.7 0.0

* Decade only through 2018

Source: Western Regional Climate Center


Also see: High/Low & Average Temperatures by Month & Year for Downtown Los Angeles.