Hotter summers, warmer winters? New climate report offers s…

(NEXSTAR) — It might be hard to think of warmer days — especially with a strong El Niño likely to bring more snow this year — but a new federal climate report shows the U.S. could face dire heat in the coming decades at the hands of global warming.

The Fifth National Climate Assessment, released earlier this month, shows the planet will likely heat up by an average of between 4.5 and 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to pre-industrial times — outpacing goals of both the U.S. and international community, The Hill reports.

The U.S. is likely to see significant temperature changes: at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming, the average temperature here could rise between 4.4 and 5.6 degrees, the report explains.

Alaska is expected to be the hardest hit, with some areas seeing the average temperature jump by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming decades.

Elsewhere in the U.S., the Midwest, Northeast, and much of the mountainous West could see the average temperatures increase by 5 degrees. The majority of the U.S. will likely see the average temperature rise about 4 degrees.

The projected changes in annual surface temperature compared to the last three decades under a global warming level of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. (USGCRP, NOAA NCEI, and CISESS NC)

Areas directly along the West Coast and those near and around the Gulf of Mexico could see temperatures rise by only about 3 degrees Fahrenheit under a global warming level (the global average change in temperature relative to preindustrial temperatures) of 3.6 degrees.

Changes to the average annual temperature could also bring different extremes.

Under a global warming level of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), much of the U.S. would see more days with temperatures of 95 degrees or higher. Parts of Florida in particular could see an increase of 45 days or more with temperatures at or above 95 degrees. Portions of Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama could see an increase of 30 hot days.

The same regions could miss out on cooler nights to counteract the heat, the report found. An area from Texas and Nebraska east to Florida and the Atlantic Coast could see an increase of up to 45 nights where the temperature doesn’t drop below 70 degrees. Across the Midwest and Southwest, those nights could increase in frequency by anywhere from 20 to 30 days.

Cold days could also diminish. The report estimates that the Northwest could see up to 45 fewer days with temperatures at or below 32 degrees. Throughout the Northeast and Midwest, there could be between 20 and 30 fewer days where the temperature is at or below 32 degrees.

These maps show the changes in hot days, cold days, and warm nights under a global warming level of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), relative to the last three decades. (NOAA NCEI and CISESS NC)

If the global warming level rises any higher, even to 5.4 or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, the average temperatures across the U.S. could increase by as much as 11 degrees, the climate report explains.

The report’s authors note that how much warming the US will experience—and when a given temperature threshold is crossed—depends on future global emissions.

These projections come just weeks after experts reported that last month was the hottest October on record globally. That marks the fifth straight month with such a level in what will now almost certainly be the warmest year ever recorded.

Scientists monitor climate variables to gain an understanding of how our planet is evolving as a result of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. A warmer planet means more extreme and intense weather events like severe drought or hurricanes that hold more water, said Peter Schlosser, vice president and vice provost of the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University.

“This is a clear sign that we are going into a climate regime that will have more impact on more people,” Schlosser said. “We better take this warning that we actually should have taken 50 years ago or more and draw the right conclusions.”

The Hill’s Rachel Frazin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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