Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Watch America's Weird Weather Get Hotter Over 50 Years

Now that the Polar Vortex is out of sight, data crunchers show that unusual, hot weather events are likely to dominate the U.S. for decades to come.

Watch America's Weird Weather Get Hotter Over 50 Years

Spring might have just sprung, but there's already a hint of a particularly cruel, hot summer in the air. It's not surprising, especially not when you look at the persistent growth of weirdly warm weather in the United States since 1964.

The data crunchers over at Enigma, a New York City-based search engine for information breakdowns, decided to see how many of America's temperature anomalies—days in which the minimum and maximum temperatures went off the historical charts—skewed hot and cold over time. Using daily data from some of the Global Historical Climatology Network's 90,000 weather monitors, Enigma found that the share of "warm" and "strong warm" events has spiked from 42% of the total weird events in 1964 to nearly 67% today. That's an average increase of 0.5% each year.

"Though we remain cautious about making predictions based on this model, it suggests that this yearly proportion of warm anomalies will regularly fall above 70% in the 2030's," the report authors write.

After charting more than 3 million of these days, Enigma found that the most anomalous hot day in all of the United States occurred on March 30, 1986. But that year, only 64% of the events qualified as uniquely warm, whereas in 2012, 84% of all weather outliers were hotter than usual. In less than 20 years, it might best for humans to take cover and head north.