Climate Central: Utah summers will get much hotter by 2100

Utahns probably don't want summers to get 10 degrees hotter, but that's what will happen if climate change isn't dealt with in a meaningful way, according to the organization Climate Central. Photo courtesy of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

SALT LAKE CITY – The nonprofit group Climate Central projects Utah’s already warm summer temperatures are going to get quite a bit hotter by the turn of the century, courtesy of climate change.

Bernadette Woods Placky, a meteorologist with Climate Central, says her organization evaluates the level of current greenhouse gas emissions to project future temperatures.

“The average summer high temperature for Salt Lake City is 88.3 degrees,” says Woods Placky. “With these projections, that temperature is going to rise to 99.6 degrees, which is equivalent to the Catalina Foothills in Arizona today. That’s an 11 degree temperature rise.”

Woods Placky says climate change has been causing temperatures to increase in the U.S. since the 1970s.

Research from Climate Central is projecting summer temperatures will continue to rise throughout the U.S., but Woods Placky says some places will be hotter than others, with temperatures expected to increase from six to twelve degrees. Woods Placky adds reducing air pollution will help to slow climate change, but some of the damage is already done.

“Even if we were to cut by 50 percent. Even if we were to cut wholly, today, which obviously wouldn’t happen, we’re still committed to a few degrees to our future summers,” she says.

According to Woods Placky, areas in the northern U.S. will warm as much, or more, than places like Utah. She says Minneapolis’ high summer temperature of 81 degrees is projected to reach 93 degrees by 2100.

Climate Central conducts scientific research and surveys on climate change and informs the public of key findings.

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