(NEXSTAR) – Things are heating up in California – and not just because it’s almost summer. The state – like the rest of the world – is getting warmer every year. But the impact of this warming is not the same in all cities.
On average, the United States is about 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was in 1970, according to Central Climate, a group of scientists and journalists who study climate change and its impacts. But not all cities are warming at the same rate.
In California, the fastest warming cities, based on average annual temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, are:
- Fresno (+4 degrees)
- Chico (+3 degrees)
- San Francisco (+2.9 degrees)
- Santa Maria (+2.8 degrees)
- Palm Springs (+2.1 degrees)
According to Climate Central, the slowest warming cities are:
- Monterey (no noticeable increase)
- Los Angeles (+0.4 degrees)
- Eureka (+0.4 degrees)
- San Diego (+0.6 degrees)
- Bakersfield (+1 degree)
Stockton, San Jose, Sacramento and Salinas all fell somewhere in the middle, warming around 1.3 to 1.9 degrees since 1970.
What has caused some California cities to warm more than others over the past 50 years?
“One of the biggest factors is proximity to the ocean/large bodies of water,” explained Climate Central data analyst Kaitlyn Weber. “As you move further inland, particularly into the hot and dry Central Valley, cities like Chico and Fresno have continental climates that experience a greater temperature range both on a daily and seasonal basis. .”
Nationally, California is the 16th fastest warming state. It’s not great, but we don’t have it as badly as the northeastern states, where temperatures are rising faster thanks to the warming North Atlantic Ocean, Weber said. Meanwhile, the Pacific Ocean helps keep things cooler on the west coast.
The state’s average annual temperature has risen 2.9 degrees since 1970. That’s impacting our winters and summers, Weber said.
“As winters get warmer and drier in California, our snowpack is really being impacted on both sides as we face reduced precipitation, warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt – in addition to conditions. extreme droughts,” Weber said. “And at the other end of the spectrum are wildfires. As temperatures rise due to climate change, so does the evaporative demand of the atmosphere. You might think that makes the atmosphere “ more thirsty”.
This is making the California landscape even drier, further worsening fire conditions, she explained.
Climate Central analyzed data from 246 US cities and found that 99% of them – all but two – have warmed in the past 52 years. Nearly 70% of the cities analyzed have warmed by at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The fastest warming city, according to the study, is in the neighboring state of Nevada, California. Reno’s average annual temperature has jumped 7.7 degrees since 1970.