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Climate Report Warns of More Blistering Summers by 2100

Jul 11, 2014 11:53 AM EDT
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Climate change is making it harder to avoid blistering temperatures, and by the end of the century, many US cities will begin to feel the heat.

According to a new climate report, Boston summers will start to feel like those in Miami, and in some cases summers will warm so dramatically that they can best be compared to the Middle East.

Compared to temperatures from the 1970s, most US cities are already warmer, with average temperatures increasing 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade in the United States. And according to a separate temperature analysis released last month, the northeast and southwest corners of the country are heating up the fastest.

"Summer temperatures in most American cities are going to feel like summers now in Texas and Florida - very, very hot," Alyson Kenward, lead researcher of the analysis, said in a press release.

The analysis, released by the non-profit group Climate Central, shows that future Americans could see an average increase of seven to 10 degrees in summer high temperatures - with some cities as much as 12 degrees hotter - by the year 2100.

Boston's average summer high temperatures will be more than 10 degrees hotter than they are now, making it feel as balmy as North Miami Beach, Fla., is today.

But Las Vegas and Phoenix, out of the 1,001 cities analyzed, could feel the worst of it. In the future, the report said Las Vegas could feel like Saudi Arabia does today, with average summer highs reaching a scorching 111 degrees. Phoenix, where summertime temperatures could regularly hit a sweltering 114 degrees, would feel like modern-day Kuwait City.

Projected temperatures only account for daytime summer heat - the hottest temperatures of the day, on average between June, July and August - and doesn't include humidity or dew point as a factor.

The projected warming also assumes that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to increase as they have been through 2080. But, even if emissions slow, researchers say, "US cities are already locked into some amount of summer warming through the end of the century."

To see what your dog days of summer will be like by 2100, check out Climate Central's interactive map here.

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