John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
An interactive map shows the predicted high temperatures in 1,001 U.S. cities and towns.
Here's something sure to wilt the spirits of Phoenix residents: By the year 2100, the average summer high temperature may have bubbled up from 104 degrees to a scalp-broiling 114 degrees. That blast of heat is equivalent to the awful summer highs people today sweat through in Kuwait City.
The heat bomb primed to soon explode can now be explored in 1,001 U.S. cities, thanks to the below interactive map from the folks at Climate Central. They've used weather data to postulate average summer highs at the end of the century. They then compare your city's future heat to another place currently experiencing that level of misery. For instance, Boston's expected highs of 89 degrees is like being in contemporary North Miami Beach; the District of Columbia's 97 degrees is like Pharr, Texas; and Las Vegas' 111 degrees is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (It seems as though much of the Southwest will one day resemble the Middle East, in fact.)
These temperatures are based on a scenario in which nothing is done to mitigate the reigning emission trends. Here's Climate Central giving a bit more insight into its predictions:
On average, summer heat is projected to warm 7-10°F, though some cities will have summers 12°F warmer than they are now. As you explore the interactive, you'll find that for cities in the Northwest, the Great Plains, the Midwest, and the Northeast, warming is best illustrated by a southward shift. In some cases, however, the shift is slightly northward and inland—for example, warming in coastal San Diego will make it feel like Lexington, Ky.,—and represents more than a 6°F temperature increase.
This analysis only accounts for daytime summer heat—the hottest temperatures of the day, on average between June-August—and doesn't incorporate humidity or dewpoint, both of which contribute to how uncomfortable summer heat can feel. This projected warming also assumes greenhouse gas emissions keep increasing through 2080, just as they have been for the past several decades.
Should you want to know more about the methodology underlining these predictions, root around in Climate Central's lengthier explanation. It includes the dismal side note that even if humans swiftly and drastically cut down on emissions, "U.S. cities are already locked into some amount of summer warming through the end of the century."