Think you've had a hot summer? It could be worse by 2050, data shows
(NEXSTAR) – A scorching heat wave recently sent temperatures across the country well into the 100s, and is still impacting some states in the West. At least two deaths in Oregon this month are suspected to have been caused by the heat, with more hot days forecasted through the weekend.
New projections show these days of extreme heat may become more frequent over the next three decades. Given warming trends, this summer, with its widespread heat waves, “is likely to be one of the coolest summers of the rest of our lives,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Tuesday.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration launched a new website, heat.gov, that includes not only hot weather health advice but maps and forecasts showing how high temperatures will impact the country.
Based on one of heat.gov’s maps, which shows a projected number of extreme heat days in 2050 for each county based on a National Climate Assessment, Raimondo’s statement may be especially true for certain regions in the U.S.
According to the map, seen here, states in the Southeast and Mountain West could experience more than 35 extreme heat days – when temperatures surpass the top 1% on record – by 2050.
Nearly the entire state of Florida falls into that realm, which may not be much of a surprise considering the Sunshine State is well known for its warm temperatures. Counties in the central part of the state like Hernando and Orange could have roughly 50 extreme heat days, well above the four they have historically seen. In the southern portion, counties like Miami-Dade could see the number of days rises to around 75.
Similar projections have been made for the southern tip of Texas and counties stretching along the Gulf of Mexico, and those along the Mississippi River north toward the southern edge of Illinois. The data also shows extreme heat days may become more common along the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Other states in the West, like Arizona and Nevada, could see between 20 and 30 days of extreme heat by 2050. States in the southern Midwest – primarily Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio – are projected to have similar futures.
Northern Midwest states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan; most of New England; northern Plain states such as Montana; and parts of the Dakotas could still see an increased rate of extreme heat days but on a trend closer to 15 to 25 days a year.
There are, however, areas throughout the U.S. that may hardly notice a rise in extreme heat days. That includes portions of Kansas and Oklahoma, swaths of the Dakotas, and the counties along the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Seattle to Santa Barbara.
You can see your community’s potential for extreme heat days here.
Nationally, the average annual temperature is projected to rise by five to nine degrees by the end of the century, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Rick Spinrad.
President Biden recently called climate change “an emergency,” and promised more action will come soon. On Thursday, Biden called an agreement reached by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis.” The measure would reduce carbon emissions and invest in clean energy but could be tough to pass through Congress.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.