The Marine Layer


I took Doppler out for a quick walk this morning at 3:30 AM. She looks down. I look up.

The stars were mainly gone. A low gray cloud deck had moved in. Nothing unusual. I went to bed.

By the time I woke up the clouds were gone. It’s like this a lot in SoCal–sunny days/cloudy nights.

There is a reason. It’s called the marine layer. Let me explain.

SoCal Weather: Location, Location, Location


The map above (click it to make it larger) shows SoCal temperatures just before 2:00 PM. Today is a perfect day to point out the tremendous temperature difference proximity to the Pacific can make. There’s a reason, besides the views, people want to live there.

Close to the surf, temperatures are in the upper 70&#176s and very low 80&#176s. Drive inland a few miles and you quickly hit the 90&#176s. Beyond the first small mountains, like in the San Fernando Valley, temperatures are in the triple digits. The 109&#176 is from Woodland Hills in the valley.

It’s this quick change over a short distance that often confuses out-of-towners. Most people see the temperature from LAX, right at the water’s edge. A more realistic look is CQT, the weather station on the USC campus near Downtown L.A. It’s 81&#176 right now at LAX and ten degrees warmer at USC!

Clouds over the desert are holding down temperatures there. Palm Springs is ‘only’ 99&#176.

It’s interesting to watch the local news to see the weather presentation. Ten years ago it was all L.A. Now the suburbs and exurbs get covered with their own extended forecasts. Depending on the station there are three, or four, or more extended forecast panels.

The numbers can be very different, especially when you throw in the inland mountains. At 7,000 feet ASL, Big Bear City Airport is reporting 54&#176 and rain. It’s dropped 18&#176 in 2.5 hours!

Here in Orange County We hardly used the air conditioner during August. September will be a different story. It’s been on round-the-clock and probably will remain so through the weekend.

It’s pre-fall back in Connecticut. Summer comes later here in the Southland.