As much as London as a whole sizzled during the latest heatwave, some areas sizzled more than others.
In fact two areas in the west of the city reported the highest temperatures in the country.
On Wednesday September 8, weather stations in Heathrow and Northolt both recorded temperatures of 30.3C giving them the dubious merit of being hotter than anywhere else in the UK.
But this begs the question – what makes these two areas so hot?
READ MORE: Met Office forecasts 3-day September ‘mini-heatwave’ while BBC says it will almost be October before temperatures dip below 20C
Why is it always West London?
Part of the reason West London stands out is the way the Met Office measures temperatures around the country.
There are five Met Office climate stations in London, all but one of which are on the western side of London.
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They are in Hampstead, Kew Gardens, Hampton W Wks and Northolt. The only exception to this in Greenwich.
“So, this [West London’s higher recorded temperatures] is more likely due to there being more Met Office weather stations in western parts of London,” a Met Office meteorologist said.
Why do some areas of West London record higher temperatures than other parts of the UK?
But it’s not all to do with the way it’s measured, it can actually be hotter.
Close to Europe
A Met Office spokesperson said London and southeast England are the part of the UK that is closest to continental Europe, “and as such can be subject to similar weather patterns.”
“In summer for example, the south east can experience hot and humid weather brought towards the UK by south-easterly winds from mainland Europe.”
The southeast is also the part of the UK that is furthest from the path of most Atlantic low-pressure systems, “these systems which bring cloud, wind and rain usually track north-eastwards across Ireland, Scotland, Wales, northern and southwest England and – and can often miss London and the south east.”
And there’s more…
The urban heat island effect
The temperature in London is likely to be hotter than in other areas of the UK due to the city’s existence as an ‘urban heat island’.
These heat islands form as a result of the interaction of a number of factors, such as heat released from buildings, concrete absorbing heat, solar radiation reflected by glass buildings and windows (such as in central business districts) and cars emitting pollutants.
London is a clear example of an urban heat island, and therefore records higher temperatures than many other areas of the UK.
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