Carson City tops list of U.S. cities for warming trend

Reported by: Terri Hendry
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Updated: 6/05 10:21 pm
CARSON CITY, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- A new report shows Carson City leads the nation in a warming trend since 1984.

The report was compiled by the Associated Press, which reviewed federal weather data over the last 30 years. The analysis shows Carson City's average temperature rose 4.1 degrees over the last several decades. Boise, Idaho came in second with a rise of 4 degrees. Las Vegas, despite its triple digit heat in the summer, came in sixth with an increase in average temperature of 3.4 degrees.

National Weather Service Cooperative Program Manager Scott McGuire said he is not surprised by the report. "We do have warming and it is due to humans moving out in the area and building areas."

McGuire's job is to manage the federal climate stations in northwest Nevada and northeast California. He explained there is a term for the warming, called an urban heat island effect. "What happens is the air temperature can't cool off as effectively as it did prior to the roads and the buildings being built around that area."

McGuire said as development occurs, sunlight is absorbed by the buildings and asphalt. At night, when the temperatures are supposed to cool down, the heat continues to radiate from the man-made structures. "Reno and Carson City typically see a 30-to-35 degree swing in temperature from day to night (diurnal swing). Areas, like Boca Reservoir are not developed and we continue to see that 50-degree diurnal swing."

The Boca weather station has been gathering the same data for more than a hundred years, and McGuire said the west has seen an increase in population. "We've had a huge increase, particularly in the last 30 years. Areas like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City and Boise are all in the top 10 and have seen a large population influx."

McGuire notes the urban heat island effect is not new to science. "It's well known. I think what you're seeing today, that's coming to light, is that there's a lot more data, a lot more stations and a lot more research.  Obviously with global warming, that phrase brings a lot of people to start looking and reviewing all this stuff."
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