With heat dominating much of the country this week, we partnered with The Weather Channel to investigate cities that are warming the most and the fastest in U.S. Our graphics this week indicate the location of the 25 fastest warming cities nationwide with a more specific breakdown of the five fastest warming cities in five regions of the country: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, South, and West.
Looking over the past 50 years of average temperature data shows that seven of the eight fastest warming cities are in the West. Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Reno are leading the way, warming at least 5°F since 1965. While the urban heat island may play a role, this pattern of warming, coupled with the trend toward rapidly warming nights, are consistent with the general warming coming from greenhouse gases.
Rapid warming is also found in several cities across the northern part of the U.S. Minneapolis, Duluth, and Fargo are all traditionally cold climates, and as NOAA pointed out in its blog last fall, cold things tend to warm more easily than warm things. This is also seen in the rate of warming at the poles, as the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. It also explains why winters have been warming more rapidly than summers for most of the country, and why nights are warming more quickly than days.
Methodology: Climate Central analyzed the average annual temperature for the top 200 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) since 1965. Of these, 178 had sufficient data for analysis. Because a number of MSAs are geographically large, some markets will be included with larger nearby cities. Please contact us if you would like a specific breakdown of how fast your city is warming.