• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
News Alert: DIRECTV Customers. Tell DIRECTV to bring back KTVA. Call 800-531-5000. - Read More
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 19s

What states are warming the fastest?

By Associated Press 6:59 PM June 4, 2014

WASHINGTON — The United States is warming fastest at two of its corners, in the Northeast and the Southwest, an analysis of federal temperature records shows.

Northeastern states – led by Maine and Vermont – have gotten the hottest in the last 30 years in annual temperature, gaining 2.5 degrees on average. But Southwestern states have heated up the most in the hottest months: The average New Mexico summer is 3.4 degrees warmer now than in 1984; in Texas, the dog days are 2.8 degrees hotter.

The contiguous United States’ annual average temperature has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, with summers getting 1.6 degrees hotter. But that doesn’t really tell you how hot it’s gotten for most Americans. While man-made greenhouse gases warm the world as a whole, weather is supremely local. Some areas have gotten hotter than others because of atmospheric factors and randomness, climate scientists say.

“In the United States, it isn’t warming equally,” said Kelly Redmond, climatologist at the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nevada. “Be careful about extrapolating from your own backyard to the globe.”

For example, while people in the East and Midwest were complaining about a cold winter this year, Redmond’s Nevada and neighboring California were having some of their warmest winter months ever.

To determine what parts of the country have warmed the most, The Associated Press analyzed National Climatic Data Center temperature trends in the lower 48 states, 192 cities and 344 smaller regions within the states. Climate scientists suggested 1984 as a starting date because 30 years is a commonly used time period and 1984, which had an average temperature, is not a cherry-picked year to skew a trend either way. The trend was calculated by the NCDC using the least squares regression method, which is a standard statistical tool.

All but one of the lower 48 states have warmed since 1984. North Dakota is the lone outlier, and cooled slightly. Ten states – Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Mexico, Connecticut and New York – have gotten at least 2 degrees warmer in the past 30 years.

Since 1984, 92 percent of the more than 500 cities and smaller regions within states have warmed and nearly two-thirds of them have warmed by at least a degree. The regions that have warmed the most have been New York’s St. Lawrence Valley, northeastern Vermont, northern Maine, the northeastern plains of New Mexico and western Vermont, all of which have warmed by more than 2.5 degrees.

Cities – where data is a tad more suspect because they are based on a single weather station and readings can be affected by urban heating and development – see the greatest variation. Carson City, Nevada, and Boise, Idaho, are the cities that have seen the most warming – both year-round and in summer – since 1984. Both cities’ average annual temperatures have jumped more than 4 degrees in just 30 years, while Dickinson, North Dakota, has dropped the most, a bit more than 2 degrees.

The Southwest warming, especially in the summer, seems to be driven by dryness, because when there is little water the air and ground warm up faster, said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

“Heat and drought are a vicious cycle that has been hitting the Southwest hard in recent years,” Hayhoe said.

And in the Northeast, the temperatures are pushed up by milder winters and warm water in the North Atlantic, said Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. And less snow on the ground over the winter often means warmer temperatures, said Alan Betts, a climate scientist at Atmospheric Research in Pittsford, Vermont.

The Southeast and Northwest were among the places that warmed the least. In the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, industrial sulfur particle pollutants from coal burning may be reflecting sunlight, thus countering heating caused by coal’s carbon dioxide emissions, said Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Stories

  • Alaskans weigh in on new deportation rules from Trump administration

    by Eric Ruble on Feb 21, 22:27

    New rules from the Department of Homeland Security regarding illegal immigration will allow for increased deportations. The rules, announced Tuesday by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, outline a number of ways the government will speed up deportations. It requests the hiring of 10,000 new Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel, publicizing crimes illegal immigrants […]

  • Lifestyle

    Lovers of Italian olive oil in for some sticker shock

    by Associated Press on Feb 21, 21:59

    From specialty shops in Rome to supermarkets around the world, lovers of Italian olive oil are in for some sticker shock this year, with prices due to jump by as much as 20 percent. The combination of bad weather and pests hit the harvest in Southern Europe, most of all in Italy, where production is […]

  • News

    Attorney: Some victims, witnesses of crimes may not feel safe coming forward under immigration changes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 21, 21:33

    Robin Bronen is an Anchorage attorney and the executive director of the Alaska Institute for Justice, which works to protect human rights, refugees and immigrants, among other things. She sat down with Joe Vigil to discuss recently released guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security regarding immigration and deportation. Bronen said one concern with the new […]

  • Suspect arraigned on new charges related to deadly shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 21, 21:06

    A man accused of killing an Anchorage 19-year-old appeared in court Tuesday on two new charges in the case. Christopher Birotte, 23, was arraigned for first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder in connection to a Jan. 24 shooting that resulted in the death of Tiwan Johnson. Birotte was previously arraigned on other charges of second-degree […]

  • Weather

    KTVA Weather Lab: Scenic Park Elementary School

    by Melissa Frey on Feb 21, 20:33

    In this week’s KTVA Weather Lab, I visited Scenic Park Elementary School. The third-graders in Ms. Westfall’s class are learning that the sun is always shining, regardless of what the weather looks like outside their window. While I was there, they asked me the Weather Lab Question of the Week: How do clouds get their shapes? Every Tuesday, […]

  • Sports

    Aces hit the road, and the timing may be right

    by Dave Goldman on Feb 21, 20:31

    It has not gone well of late for the Alaska Aces. Uncertainty over their future, combined with a slide on the ice has the team reeling. Perhaps a road trip will do them some good—a long one.  Tuesday was their final skate at Sullivan Arena for a while. On Wednesday, they’ll depart for the East Coast on a 10-game, three-week trek. “We go […]

  • News

    DHS issues memos meant to crack down on illegal immigration

    by Rebecca Shabad / CBS News on Feb 21, 20:15

    The Department of Homeland Security issued two memos Tuesday morning that could expand the number of immigrants detained or deported as part the administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The memos are intended to implement President Trump’s immigration actions from last month and enforce existing immigration law. CBS News’ Jeff Pegues previewed some […]

  • Weather

    Alaska Weather Forecast – Feb. 21, 2017

    by KTVA Weather on Feb 21, 20:01

    Winter weather advisories are in place for parts of the state, including Bristol Bay, according to meteorologist Carlos Faura. He explains what the rest of the state can expect in the coming days, including whether there will be more snow, and how much. Follow KTVA 11’s Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Got a weather-related […]