It’s official: This is Phoenix’s hottest summer ever recorded
Source: Kaila White | Arizona Republic
It’s official: This is now the hottest Phoenix summer to date ever on record.
The National Weather Service in Phoenix broke the news Tuesday afternoon with a few fun facts:
- The average maximum temperature this summer has been 107.9 degrees. Runners-up are 107.6 degrees in both 1989 and 1978.
- The average temperature this summer has been 96 degrees. Runners-up are 95.4 degrees in 2016 and 95.3 degrees in 2006.
- The average minimum temperature this summer has been 84.2 degrees, tied with the same temperature in 2006 and followed by 83.7 degrees in 2016.
The record stands for as far back as records have been kept on Phoenix weather, which is 1895. The news comes days after Phoenix broke another weather record for having the most 110-degree days in a year, at 35 as of Monday.
And it’s not only Phoenix that’s hotter than usual.
“We’re definitely seeing temperatures way up there on the statewide level,” said meteorologist Austin Jamison with the Weather Service.
So, why is this happening?
The same weather pattern that is preventing the Valley from getting monsoons is also preventing us from getting cloud cover or humidity at all.
“When you have humidity in the air, some of the sun’s energy goes into heating up the water vapor, but with the lack of water vapor it just goes to heating up the air,” Jamison said. “If you had a lot more humid air, the temperature is not going to be as high even though you had the same amount of sun energy getting in.”
There’s another reason: the urban heat island effect.
“That’s very well established with the accumulation of man-made materials, these artificial, heat-retaining materials that make nighttime temperatures for sure significantly warmer than they would be compared to natural desert or agricultural land,” Jamison said.
Phoenix’s concrete, asphalt and buildings retain heat, keeping the city hotter through the night.
“On top of that there is a broader signal of climate change where it’s not just Phoenix, it’s not just the urban effects. Places that don’t have near the urbanization over the years have been seeing upward trends in temperatures. When it comes to Phoenix, it’s not simply global warning, but that is a factor,” Jamison said.
An excessive-heat warning starts Wednesday morning for most of metro Phoenix and will run through Monday evening, meaning it will be very hot even by local standards. Afternoon temperatures are expected to be 107 to 116 degrees, according to the warning.