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KUT News Staff
Texas Named the Ninth Fastest-Warming State
Are those Texas summers feeling increasingly warmer? Don't worry, it's not just you.
According to a report released today by the Climate Central research group, Texas is ranked as the 9th Fastest Warming State, with average state temperatures increasing at a rate of .575 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The survey was based on temperatures in the continental United States between 1912 and 2011.
Though the increase might not seem huge, the Southwest, including Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, is the fastest warming region in the country.
"That'll translate into increased wildfire risk, make droughts more severe because of the increased heat, and have lots of other adverse effects on the region," said Richard Wiles from Climate Central.
Other recent studies confirm a connection between shifts in wildfire patterns and climate change.
However, Claudia Tebaldi, also from the Climate Central, is more hesitant to make any warnings based on statistics.
"The report shows how things behaved in the past," said Tebaldi. "That doesn't mean in a specific year, we are going to see a specifically warmer summer or cooler summer."
The idea behind today's climate change report, according to Tebaldi, was to bring the idea of global warming closer to home, showing how climate change occurs locally to map temperature trends.
"Things can be very variable at the local level," said Tebaldi, referring to the range in temperature changes in the United States. "But that doesn't mean that global warming isn't real."
But if the numbers are any indicator, said Weil, "people need to prepare for a warmer, drier climate."