Don't blame the seemingly endless heat wave just on global warming - this one's the product of a high-pressure system to the east and California's rapidly expanding growth, said Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert.
"Of the 12 degrees, how much is global warming? I would say 1 degree," Patzert said. "The other 11 degrees is meteorology" and lots of new heat-soaking pavement and other developments.
There is a human-caused component, though...
But what has made these conditions especially unbearable, Patzert said, is the new face of California's landscape, repaved by ever-expanding development.
"As soon as you start putting in agriculture, golf courses, especially housing developments, it starts to retain heat. The nights are not cooling. That's why we get warmer and warmer temperatures by mid-afternoon, because we're starting warmer," he said.
At night, deserts radiate the heat they absorb during the day. Moister land doesn't.
In the mean time, Mark Twain's dictum still applies.