A peer-reviewed study by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows nearly all of the United States will see a significant increase in extreme heat by the end of the century, and that includes New York.

On average, the state sees heat index days above 90 degrees about four times per year.

It's important to note, heat index is not the same as temperature. Heat index refers to what the temperature feels like to the human body, when combined with humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

So those days we feel 90-degrees or higher will increase to 29 days per year by 2050, and 58 days per year by the end of the century. 

If 90 isn't bad enough, the study looks at other temperature increments. While New York has historically had a zero average heat index of 105 degrees, that could jump to three days a year by 2050, and 13 by 2100.


The study all connects to climate change and carbon emissions factored in with heat index averages.

From the press release:

"The analysis calculated the frequency of days with heat index thresholds above 90 degrees Fahrenheit—the point at which outdoor workers generally become susceptible to heat-related illness—as well as above 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit, when the National Weather Service (NWS) generally recommends issuing heat advisories and excessive heat warnings, respectively. The number of high heat-index days was calculated by averaging projections from 18 high-resolution climate models between April and October. The report looked at these conditions for three possible futures. The “no action scenario” assumes carbon emissions continue to rise and the global average temperature increases nearly 4.3 degrees Celsius (about 8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by century’s end. The “slow action scenario” assumes carbon emissions start declining at midcentury and the global average temperature rises 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 degrees Fahrenheit) by century’s end. In the “rapid action scenario,” global average warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)—in line with the Paris Agreement."

There's an interactive map to show how the heat index will change county by county across the country. Check it out here.

— Gwendolyn Craig

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1


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