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Where Are the Climate Hot Spots Throughout the Country?

Cities with consistently cold temperatures are facing heat waves as deserts are bombarded with blizzards, causing rapid shifts in the local conditions. Climate change is making temperatures inconsistent and bizarre, but what regions are the most surprising and need help combatting the heat?
Where Are the Climate Hot Spots Throughout the Country?

What Are Climate Hot Spots?

Climate hot spots are regions notably impacted by global warming. They experience higher-than-average temperatures to the point where biodiversity and quality of life are changed and threatened. The Paris Agreement strives to control global rising temperatures, ensuring they don’t exceed 1.5˚ Celsius or 2.7˚ Fahrenheit. However, climate hot spots may have already surpassed this metric.

In 2022, a startling report revealed 499 counties in the U.S. had already driven past this boiling point, mainly in the West. The impacted counties reflect the most vulnerable types of areas, giving the world an insight into how to heal these places and protect the rest.

Extreme weather topples communities and their expectations. It escalates the frequency of natural disasters like wildfires, causing public health crises and utility outages. Native species can no longer handle the heat and move out of the area, making it likely invasive varieties will enter and disrupt ecosystems more.

Every living thing in hot spots must find new ways to survive or discover somewhere more temperate to go. These migrations shake economies, agriculture and stability. The only practical way to respond is regulatory action, leading to decisions like the Inflation Reduction Act and the creation of the National Climate Task Force.

State-Specific Regional Hot Spots

Examine some of the most dramatic instances of global warming in the U.S. and how it has impacted residents.

North Slope County, Alaska

The Paris Agreement is worried about a rise of 1.5˚ C — what if temperatures rose an average of 3.72˚ C instead? This is what’s happening in North Slope County, Alaska, where permafrost is melting and causing panic in critical infrastructure. The vast variances destroyed roads and cracked foundations as extensive melting mixed with rain and freezing temperatures.

Colorado’s Western Slope

Colorado’s Western Slope region could be faring better. It’s an area known for having as much as five feet of snow standing in proud piles. Tourists began noticing its absence because the snowfall is the Slope’s primary water source. A massive drought threatens the 30,000-square-mile region that has warmed more than 2˚ C. The Slope extends into Utah’s eastern border.

California Coast

In 2017, California experienced a wildfire season unlike any other. It influenced laws of all types, including enforcing battery backups for garage doors and the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act to track emissions.

However, the coast is one of the most prominent hot spots. Outside Los Angeles is the Palos Verdes Peninsula, where mudslides and flash floods might send homes sitting atop hills into the water below. The rainy season in the region isn’t over yet, and 592 mudslides and 1,180 potholes have already caused disruptions in 2024. Until mitigation occurs, the area will have to construct buildings withstanding the degree increase.

Urban Heat Islands

The heat island effect describes the phenomenon where densely populated cities tend to be warmer because there is less greenery to regulate temperatures. Additionally, buildings block wind flow and let sun rays sink into pavement, and asphalt is a strong absorber of heat. Such occurrences inspired the Excess Urban Heat Mitigation Act in 2022.

Every year, more people move to urban areas for the promise of opportunity and urbanization will continue compounding for the foreseeable future, making cities hotter and hotter. The Urban Heat Index measures a city’s temperature against its human-made infrastructure, among other qualities like percentage of green space and population.

Whether or not a city is dense or sprawling plays a factor, too. Dense cities are more prone to intense heat waves, and the worst affected have temperatures that feel 8˚ F warmer than they are. These are the hottest urban heat islands in the U.S., where at least over one million people are exposed to extreme temperatures:

  • New York, New York
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • San Diego, California
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Detroit, Michigan

Incorporating more greenery is the most straightforward way to tackle the urban heat island effect. This is why sponge cities and green roofing have become so popular. They provide shade and comfort to its citizens while making buildings more eco-friendly by using less energy.

Climate Vulnerability Index Cities

In 2023, academics from Texas A&M University worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to create a revolutionary technology — the Climate Vulnerability Index. The tool considered census data against 184 climate risks, including extreme events like drought, flooding and storms. Analysts weighed this information against environmental factors like pollution and infrastructure qualities like governance.

The Index named these U.S. cities the highest risk:

  • Knox, Kentucky
  • Tangipahoa, Louisiana
  • St. Landry, Louisiana
  • Talladega, Alabama
  • Iberville, Louisiana
  • Yazoo, Mississippi
  • St. John the Baptist, Louisiana
  • Dillon, South Carolina
  • Acadia, Louisiana
  • Floyd, Kentucky

Temperature is one of the most nuanced aspects of the CVI’s considerations. It viewed the average heat days annually caused by urban heat island extremes, how high the monthly maximum temperature is expected to rise by 2050 and the number of days when temperatures exceed 40˚ C.

Those factors make these cities the most prone climate hot spots in the U.S. The CVI is groundbreaking for policymakers because it will influence grants and funding to assist the most at-risk populations. If these regions do not receive swift aid, nearby areas will likely fall into similar circumstances.

Cooling Down Climate Hot Spots

Every attempt at becoming greener helps climate hot spots cool off. Actions large and small are necessary for temperature regulation. As cities move to electrified transportation, dismiss fossil fuels and become more curious about how humanity can overcome the climate crisis, temperatures will drop. Protecting people and biodiversity is necessary to make a more hopeful and sustainable Earth.

Baterías con premio en la gran feria europea del almacenamiento de energía
El jurado de la feria ees (la gran feria europea de las baterías y los sistemas acumuladores de energía) ya ha seleccionado los productos y soluciones innovadoras que aspiran, como finalistas, al gran premio ees 2021. Independientemente de cuál o cuáles sean las candidaturas ganadoras, la sola inclusión en este exquisito grupo VIP constituye todo un éxito para las empresas. A continuación, los diez finalistas 2021 de los ees Award (ees es una de las cuatro ferias que integran el gran evento anual europeo del sector de la energía, The smarter E).