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Study: Fast-Growing Texas Cities Are Hot – and Getting Hotter

One report ranks San Antonio as the fastest-growing Texas city projected to have a rapid rise in temperatures as a result of global warming. Photo: Carol Highsmith/Wikimedia Commons

by Mark Richardson

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The effects of climate change on temperatures don’t appear to be deterring people from moving to some of Texas’ largest cities, according to a new report.

The website Sparefoot, which helps people locate storage space, rates the fastest-growing cities in the country by how rapidly their average temperatures are rising. Earning places two through six on the survey are San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston, respectively.

Texas State Climatologist Dr. John Nielson-Gammon said he isn’t surprised by the results. He said the reason seems obvious.

“Mainly global warming. The pace of warming is comparable to what’s been observed globally,” Nielson-Gammon said. “And actually, if anything, the natural variability or surface modifications have suppressed the warming a bit in Texas.”

The study’s authors picked the 15 fastest-growing U.S. cities based on Census Bureau reports, and ranked them using the Sperling Heat Index and a Climate Central projection of extreme hot days for the rest of the 21st century. They found that some of the most popular destinations for those looking to relocate are also those likely to be hit hardest by the warming change.

Nielsen-Gammon, who is also a professor at the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M, said based on the criteria, Texas should dominate the list.

“Texas is a relatively warm state with lots of people,” he said. “It is hotter – on average, temperatures are about 1.5 to 2 degrees warmer than they were during the 20th century.”

Climate studies show rising temperatures are likely to bring problems to cities such as higher pollution levels, more disease and water shortages if global warming continues unabated.

Phoenix was number one on the list of “hot” cities getting hotter. Others include Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York City, and – perhaps surprisingly – Denver and Seattle.

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