The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 — and a lot has changed since then. We’ve elected 10 presidents, survived a few recessions and invented the internet. The planet has also warmed by several degrees.
On average, the United States is about 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was in 1970, according to Climate Central, a group of scientists and journalists who research climate change and its impacts. But not all cities are warming at the same rate.
Climate Central analyzed data from 246 U.S. cities and found 99% of them — all but two — have gotten warmer in the past 52 years. Nearly 70% of the cities analyzed warmed by at least 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The fastest-warming cities, based on average annual temperature since 1970, are:
- Reno, Nevada (+7.7 degrees)
- Las Vegas (+5.9 degrees)
- El Paso, Texas (+5.1 degrees)
- Erie, Pennsylvania (+4.7 degrees)
- Tucson, Arizona (+4.6 degrees)
- Chattanooga, Tennessee (+4.6 degrees)
- Burlington, Vermont (+4.5 degrees)
- Phoenix, Arizona (+4.3 degrees)
- McAllen, Texas (+4.1 degrees)
- Helena, Montana (+4.1 degrees)
The only two cities of the 246 analyzed that didn’t warm since 1970 were Monterey, California, and Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Climate Central also analyzed data from 49 states (all but Hawaii) and ranked the fastest-warming:
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Alaska is especially vulnerable to climate warming, the report found, because of its high latitude. The poles have been found to warm faster than the rest of the planet, according to NASA. “Melting glaciers and permafrost are contributing to sea level rise and greenhouse gas release” in Alaska, writes Climate Central.