ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Could New Mexico start seeing more 100-degree Fahrenheit days in the near future? A new study by a non-profit climate research group suggests the Land of Enchantment should expect more triple-digit temperature days in the coming years.
First Street Foundation recently released a nationwide climate risk study showing that the number of hot days is likely to rise. Their math predicts that southern New Mexico, in particular, could see more consecutive days above 100 degrees in the next 30 years.
Weather records show that so far, New Mexico’s record for the greatest number of 100-degree days in a row was set in 1980. In June of that year, the state saw nine 100-degree days in a row, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
In Albuquerque, temperatures hit 100 degrees around 250 times since 1939, NWS notes. That’s about two or three times per year.
But down in the southern portion of the state, heat is more common. In Carlsbad, for example, there’s an average of 22 days per year where temperatures rise to 100 degrees or more, according to NWS. And First Street Foundation’s new research says it’s only going to get worse in some southern counties.
The research predicts that Eddy County could see roughly double the number of 100-degree days per year by 2053. Doña Ana and Luna Counties could see roughly triple.
The researchers made these estimates by looking at factors that affect the likelihood of heat. They included things like land cover and elevation, along with current temperature measurements from satellite imagery and historical data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The estimates are not perfect. But the idea is to try to see the potential effects of climate change on a local level.
“Increasing temperatures are broadly discussed as averages, but the focus should be on the extension of the extreme tail events expected in a given year,” Matthew Eby, the founder, and CEO of First Street Foundation said in a press release. “We need to be prepared for the inevitable, that a quarter of the country will soon fall inside the Extreme Heat Belt with temperatures exceeding 125°F and the results will be dire.”
That “Extreme Heat Belt” is a region of the country the researchers identified as particularly vulnerable. It runs from northern Texas and Louisiana through Illinois, Indiana, and part of Wisconsin.
This area, in the central portion of the U.S., is at the greatest risk of extreme heat, the research reveals. Some counties in Texas, for example, could see more than 100 days of 100-degree heat per year in 2053, they predict.