Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the country, according to the research group Climate Central.
According to the new report, released Monday on Earth Day, Las Vegas has warmed 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970. That’s more than any other city in the United States. Rounding out the top five fastest-warming cities were El Paso (4.7 degrees F), Tucson (4.5 degrees F), Phoenix (4.3 degrees F), and Burlington (4.1 degrees F).
Globally, temperatures have risen by more than 1.8 degrees F.
Climate Central assessed temperatures in 242 cities in the United States and found temperatures have risen in nearly 98 percent of them. Ten cities warmed by at least 4 degrees F. Another 59 cities warmed by at least 3 degrees F.
The report used annual average temperatures collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Notably, Reno was not included in the survey due to “data inconsistencies unique to that city’s weather station.”
The report noted that while the temperatures may be “seemingly small,” they have “big consequences” such as “increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, damaging public health, stressing food and water supplies, shifting seasons and ecosystems, boosting sea levels, damaging infrastructure and local economies, and threatening ways of life.”
Here in Nevada, spring is the fastest-warming season and has led to extended allergy seasons.
The report compared today’s temperatures to those in 1970 because that was the first year the country celebrated Earth Day. The day is meant to heighten public awareness of environmental protection, but the report notes that “atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose by more than twice as much in the half century after the first Earth Day than they did in the entire century before 1970.”