Arizona Heat Records Soar Amid Rising Temperatures

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Arizona is reaching heat records as higher than average temperatures rise these past few weeks– topping out at 117/118. The High Country is expected to see some rain, but that’s not a guarantee.

What’s driving the temperatures to soar so high this early in the summer and will there be any relief in sight?

Randy Cerveny, an ASU Climatologist joined “Arizona Horizon” to discuss more about the rising heat in the Valley.

What most people are surprised about are the low temperatures at night are actually worse than during the day time. 

“What was said is that it was not only the high temperatures that were high, the normal temperatures in June are about 104/105 degrees. We averaged last month 109 degrees for our high temperatures…but what’s bad is it was the night time that was even worse,” said Cerveny. 

A factor that’s causing this problem is carbon dioxide is absorbed during the day time and at night it’s released which causes higher temperatures in the evening. 

“Two reasons. One is the Urban Heat Island Effect.  Asphalt, concrete and tarmac holds heat much better than grass. So, during the day it absorbs all of the heat and then at night it starts to release it but carbon dioxide also holds onto heat very nicely so during the day all of that heat gets trapped by the big CO2 dome we have over…Arizona and Phoenix and it holds onto the heat,” said Cerveny. 

ASU has looked at different ways to reduce the problem of high temperatures at night. 

“…We’ve looked at, for example, painting roadways white as opposed to black…changing rooftops to different colors, to better reflect it,” said Cerveny. 

ASU is currently researching different strategies to help on the large-scale to see if the solutions are effective. 

“We haven’t been able to apply them on a large basis. Computer models suggest they might have a fairly good impact on temperatures,” said Cerveny. 

Randy Cerveny, ASU Climatologist

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