Warm Summer Nights

As most of find just look for ways to cope with the summer heat, a few watch it with professional interest. Meteorologists look to the short term. Climatologists like Kelly Redmond of the Desert Research Institute take a longer view, and as he studies our weather record an interesting trend is emerging. On the whole, the West has been gradually warming a degree or so since the 1970's. That trend pales alongside what been happening to our nighttime temperatures in Reno.
Dr. Kelly Redmond, Desert Research Institute, since the mid 90's its gone up 8 to 10 degrees and it's increased tremendously.
The speed of that change is startling. In its history, Reno never recorded an overnight low of 70 degrees or more until 1992. Since then, we've had a dozen of those warm nights nine of them in the last three years...four of those in the last week or so. Redmond figures a degree or two of that eight or nine degree increase is due to a large scale climate change affecting all of the West. We have only to look around us to see the reason for the rest. One side effect of our growth has been the creation of an urban heat bubble. All that asphalt and concrete, all that human activity is not only changing our landscape, it's warming our valley and it's making those cooling summer nights warmer and warmer. Reno's official temperature is taken at the airport, just within the heat bubble and downwind from it's nexus.
Other than downtown Reno is the Spaghetti Bowl and over the years this bubble of warmer air has sort of migrated to the end of the runway where the thermometer is.
So what's the future likely to hold? Redmond notes the regional warming trend, several decades of earlier and earlier springs, and our warming nights. "A sprinkling of more hotter events within the normal climate variables and there's a thought in climate circles that this effect will be more noticeable in the nighttime than in the daytime."


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