SALT LAKE CITY -- This summer, Utah has seen record-breaking heat.
For 21 straight days, from July 14 through Aug. 3, the Salt Lake City Airport topped 95 degrees. The all-time warmest night was recorded this summer at 81 degrees.
“If it’s this hot right now, with the warming climate, what’s it going to be like 10 years from now, 20 years from now?” asked Brian McInerney, a Hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City.
A new online tool helps answer that question for virtually every city in America. It’s called the Climate Explorer two http://toolkit.climate.gov/climate-explorer2/.
A product of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the online guide allows you to enter a zip code or city. It will generate projections for temperature and precipitation based on two scenarios, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions or if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current pace.
“It’s still gonna hurt, but it’s going to be better,” said McInerney about the projections for lower emissions.
How much it will hurt has a big impact on Utah. Based on the projections, by 2035, the current summer temperatures will be the norm. The high heat, in part, led to algal blooms on Utah Lake, temporarily closing down secondary water to thousands of homes.
Central Utah farmers are in their fifth straight year of below average runoff, water used for crops and livestock.
It’s not just summer feeling the burn.
“The ski season is going to start later and it’s going to end earlier,” McInerney said.
University of Utah researchers put Utah’s ski and snowboard spending at nearly $1.2 billion a year, supporting 18,000 jobs.
“Areas of lower elevation. They’re going to be having a hard time keeping their base areas with snow,” McInerney said.
Winter or summer, the projections show big changes coming to the Beehive State.