Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Summers of the Future

Recent research by Climate Central gives us an idea of what summer will feel like in the year 2100 if current emission trends continue.  The study projects the high summer temperatures, the average of the daily maximum temperatures for the months of June, July and August, for 1001 cities in the United States for the end of the 21st century and then compares that temperature to current temperatures elsewhere in the United States and the rest of the world.

Research has already shown that average summer temperatures in the United States have been on the increase since the 1970s as shown on this map where the darker red colors indicate higher levels of warming:

On average, since 1970, national summer temperatures have increased at a rate of about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade for a total warming of nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit overall.  Some areas have seen far faster warming rates; the fastest average rates of summer warming are found in southern California and Nevada where average temperatures have risen by as much as 1.32 degrees per decade or more than 5 degrees since 1970 as shown on this map:

The Southwest has seen its temperature rise by 0.6 degrees per decade overall with some areas including East Central and Northwest Arizona, the central highlands of New Mexico and the Dixie and Northern Mountains areas of Utah seeing an increase of as much as 0.9 degrees per decade.  In the Northeast, parts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey have seen temperature increases of as much as 0.78 degrees per decade.

Now, let's go back to the temperature projections.  By the end of the century, assuming that emissions continue as they are now, out of the 1001 cities in the study, most will have summer high temperatures that are similar to the summer temperatures now experienced in Texas and Florida with average summer heat increasing by between 7 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some cities will have summer high temperatures that are approaching those in the Middle East.

Here are a few examples noting the temperature increase in degrees Fahrenheit and the cities with current summer temperatures that most closely resemble the future temperatures:

You'll notice that we had to go all the way to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to find temperatures that are similar to what will be experienced in Las Vegas and to Kuwait City to find temperatures that are similar to what will be experienced in Phoenix.  Also keep in mind that these temperatures do not include humidity which can make air temperatures feel far warmer than they are.

I would suggest that you go to Climate Central's website and use their interactive map where you can enter your own city and see what the future holds.  Most of us will be long gone but if Climate Central's analysis is accurate, our grandchildren could find that summers by the middle of the twenty-first century are far less than comfortable.

As the Lovin' Spoonful said in the summer of 1966... 

"Hot town, summer in the city 
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty 
Been down, isn't it a pity 
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city 
All around, people looking half dead 
Walking on the sidewalk, 
Hotter than a match head."



  1. Yes, but I don't think anything can be done about it.

    1. When in fear or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

  2. I agree, some of the issue is man made, but some is just nature. Perhaps a large volcano eruption could cool us off for a little while. In 53 years according to BP the world will be out of Oil so that should slow down some of the CO2. Plus the who knows how the upcomming US financial issues will effect CO2 production.