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HomeLocal NewsNew MexicoAre summers in New Mexico getting hotter?

Are summers in New Mexico getting hotter?


NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico is one of the fastest-warming regions in the United States for the summer months of June, July, and August, according to Climate Central, a nonprofit group comprised of scientists who research and report facts about the changing climate.

Researchers analyzed the last 54 years (1970–2023) of summer temperature data from the Applied Climate Information System (SC-ACIS) and the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). They found that every climate division across the lower 48 states in North America, including the District of Columbia, has experienced summer heating. Several regions: the Northwest (3.2°F), Southwest (3.2°F), and South (2.8°F), experienced levels of summer warming above the national average of 2.6°F.

In New Mexico, summers are 3.7°F warmer than in 1970, according to NCEI data, and eight of the 10 hottest summers on record have occurred in the last 23 years.

New Mexico’s average temperatures increased from 1970-2023 (Credit: National Centers for Environmental Information/KRQE)

Three of New Mexico’s largest cities have not dodged the heat. Albuquerque/Santa Fe has seen its average summer temperature increase by 2.8°F from just below 76°F in 1970 to just above 78°F 2023.

Las Cruces saw a larger change with an average summer temperature increase of 5.2°F. In 1970, the average summer temperature in the southern New Mexico city was just shy of 78°F and increased to almost 83°F in 2023.

“While data shows average temperatures have been warming over the last several decades, the biggest contribution to the warming trend is warmer overnight temperatures and that can have just as big of an impact as hotter high temps,” said KRQE News 13 Chief Meteorologist Grant Tosterud.

Climate Central points out that warm temperatures at night can have negative impacts on people’s bodies as they are not given time to cool off and recover from hot summer days. This can then lead to greater heat stress and related health risks.

Seasonal Temperature Outlook for June, July, August 2024. (Credit: NOAA)

As for the future of hot weather, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicts that summer 2024 is likely to be hotter than normal across much of the U.S.. That also seems to be the case here in the Land of Enchantment, “A lot of long-range forecast models are very consistent with a warmer and drier than average summer across NM and the southwest,” Tosterud said, adding that “Just because the forecast is calling for a hotter and drier summer with average temperatures warming year after year, doesn’t mean we won’t see cool and wet days still during the summer.”



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