According to a 2019 Climate Central report, Arizona's two largest cities are among the nation's fastest warming
The report, from Climate Central is based on government data from all U.S. states since the first Earth Day in 1970. Sadly, the report found a 98% increase in climate change in the U.S., with four of the top five warmest cities found in the Southwest.
Scientists and ecologist say that the warming increase is due to the well-known "Urban Heat Island Effect" in which concrete and other building materials absorb heat from the sun during the day and release it at night, and thus keep nighttime air temperatures abnormally high.
Temperatures in Phoenix during the summer regularly go over 100 degrees fahrenheit during the summer season. According to the Climate Central report, Tucson has seen an average annual temperature increase of 4.48 degrees and Phoenix has seen a 4.35 degree increase.
The number one city in the country with the fastest increase in average annual temperatures is Las Vegas, Nevada with an increase of 5.75 degrees fahrenheit.
Though the report is dire, much is being done in the Southwest to mitigate the heat island effect and the increase in summer temps. Both Phoenix and Tucson are investing in shade tree initiatives and new building materials that do not retain as much heat during the summer months, but citizens can do their own parts to stop our cities from become uninhabitable.
To help reduce warming increases plant native shade trees in your yard like the Mesquite, the Desert Willow, and the Arizona Cottonwood. You can also purchase shade canopies at stores like Costco, Target and Wal-Mart or online through Amazon or other e-commerce retailers to keep the sun off your concrete patios and sidewalks. Keep your landscape plants watered on a regular irrigation schedule and irrigate smart - water plants in the mornings before the sun comes up and water deeply more than often.
Reducing the amount of sun and time that concrete and cinder block walls absorb summer heat will greatly reduce temperatures around your house, which can also significantly reduce your cooling costs. Everybody wins!
The cities of the Southwest are beautiful and provide access to the amazing deserts of the U.S. We must all contribute to keeping our environments beautiful and livable for generations to come.
- Advocates For Youth Empowerment