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D.C. will feel like South Texas in summer by 2100 thanks to climate change, says report

Washington D.C.’s summers are going to get a little warmer, according to a study by Climate Central.

Climate change will transport our already hot summer weather to an even hotter destination late this century, according to a new report from Climate Central on Wednesday.

The report examines projected summer temperatures in 2100 in 1,001 U.S. cities and matches them to locations in today’s climate they will most closely resemble.

Washington D.C. is in for quite a change, according to the report. It concludes that D.C. summers, which now have an average maximum temperature of 86.68°F, will morph into summers that are typical in Pharr, Texas.

In case you’re not familiar with Pharr, it’s located at the far southern tip of Texas on the Mexico border. Its summers average a steamy 96.69°F.


The analysis was done using the average daily maximum temperature for the summer months – June, July, and August. Using the high emissions scenario from the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment, which is basically “business as usual,” the group was able to conclude how each city’s temperature will change in this century.

The report will likely come as disturbing news to Boston, Mass., where summers are expected to be 10°F hotter in the future, and feeling more like North Miami Beach. Summers in Lehigh Acres, Florida are expected to be the new normal in New York City. And out in St. Helena, Montana, they’ll be getting a taste of the West Coast. Their summers are prone to resemble those of Riverside, California.

There were some locations in the analysis that simply did not have any place in the U.S. to compare to. They had to head to the Middle East to find cities hot enough. “Take Las Vegas, for example,” writes Climate Central. “Summer highs there are projected to average a scorching 111°F, which is what summer temperatures are like today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. And at 114°F, living in Phoenix will feel like summering in sweltering Kuwait City.”

The variable that this study doesn’t include that would be an interesting addition is moisture, as Mashable’s Andrew Freedman pointed out:

Notably, the analysis only describes summer high temperatures, and does not incorporate changes to humidity levels, which contribute a great deal to how uncomfortable hot weather feels, and how dangerous heat waves can be.

Bernadette Woods Placky, a meteorologist and Climate Central’s “Climate Matters” program director, emphasizes these results are based on the profound influence ever-growing human-made greenhouse gas emissions are expected to have on climate. “Summers across the country are going to get considerably hotter,” Placky says, “particularly if our greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow at the rate they are.”

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
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