Texas is Getting Even Hotter – And Not in a Good Way

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If you love Texas summers, you're in luck. Perhaps you've already noticed that they're getting longer and hotter. And thanks to a new study, you can learn how much longer and hotter they're going to get over time.

A new report from the Rhodium Group shows how many days over 95 degrees each area around the country will experience over the next 100 years or so, and what the impacts will be in terms of energy use, sea levels, severe weather, and the many other factors affected by climate change.

But how hot will you be in Texas? Find out after the jump.  

By 2050, the average American will experience 27 – 50 days per year of temperatures over 95 degrees – a threefold increase over the past 30 years. But Texans aren't your average Americans.

In Texas, there will be 63 to 80 days over 95 degrees each year by 2039. By 2059, the range increases from 74 – 106. And by 2099, it increases to 107 to 161 days. That's almost half of the year with temperatures over 95 degrees.

The impacts will be severe. Crop yields will decrease by up to 31 percent, electricity demand will go up by up to 20.5 percent, energy expenditures by up to 32 percent, and storm damage expenses will increase by up to 55 percent.  Scariest of all, the mortality rate will increase by an additional 16.5 to 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

We'll also be getting more water where we don't want it, and less where we do. According to the report, “In Texas, where about one-third of the state's GDP is generated in coastal counties, sea levels will likely rise by 1.5 to 2 feet by mid-century and 3.2 to 4.9 feet by the end of the century, with a 1-in-100 chance of a 7.0-foot rise.” Meanwhile, the water levels in the Ogallala Aquifer are declining, and have dropped over 200 feet in some parts of Texas – worse than in any other state.

“Developers, builders and community leaders must be cognizant of the implications of climate change. We're all going to have to confront the risks we face from sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme heat,” said former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, who is part of the committee that commissioned the report. “Many properties may become uninsurable due to rising ocean levels and the risk of inundation; many more will face tough choices about whether to rebuild or relocate. And many industries that rely on outdoor labor will need to think hard about how to minimize the risk that extreme heat poses to their workers.”

At this point we can't reverse climate change. But realizing what its impacts will be, we can at least begin to prepare.


About Author

Emily Cadik

Emily is a Texas ex-pat and proud Longhorn living in Washington, DC, where she remains connected to the Lone Star State through her work on BOR and her enthusiasm for breakfast tacos. She works on affordable housing policy, and writes about health care, poverty and other social justice issues.

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