Phoenix is fastest-warming city in US, meteorologist says
PHOENIX — For residents in Phoenix, it is no secret that the city sometimes feels like a giant oven. But Arizona’s largest city is also the fastest-warming in the country, according to one meteorologist.
Phoenix is currently the “fastest warming big city in the US,” said meteorologist Eric Holthaus in an interview with Vice News. The city is already showing signs of progressive warming: Both Phoenix and Yuma were, on average, one degree hotter in August compared to the same time period last year.
While this growth may seem slow, a 2016 study from Climate Central projected that the city’s temperatures could be as much as five degrees hotter by 2050 and the average number of 100-plus degree days could skyrocket from 92 to 163 by 2100.
But Holthaus said the rising temperatures is not the only threat facing Phoenix: Up to 20 percent of the Colorado River — one of Arizona’s sources of drinking water — could dry up by 2050, he told Vice.
Ray Quay, a researcher at Arizona State University, said the effects of limited drinking water will first be felt by the state’s farmers, who will be forced to use groundwater, and residents in rural Arizona.
But Quay stressed that Phoenix and Arizona residents should not worry about dying of thirst, as the rivers in the Southwest go “up and down 20 percent” each year, making the region one of the most prepared for short-term climate change.