Houston Matters

Houston Could Feel More Like Central Mexico In 60 Years

New analysis of climate change data shows what cities will feel like in a generation.

Houston Heat Weather Sun Hot

It’s about to get warmer in Houston for a very long time. And, no, we’re not talking about the impending summer months.

We’re talking about what our city’s climate could be like in another 60 years – if climate change continues at its present pace.

A new analysis of climate data says, if carbon emissions are not reduced, by the year 2080 Houston’s climate would feel more like that of present-day Ciudad Mante, Mexico, about 500 miles to the southwest.

Houston Ciudad Mante Map Climate Change
New analysis of climate data says, if carbon emissions are not reduced, by the year 2080 Houston’s climate would feel more like that of present-day Ciudad Mante, Mexico, about 500 miles to the southwest.

The city is located about 75 miles inland from the eastern coast of central Mexico. And the typical summer day there is more than four degrees Fahrenheit warmer than Houston and more than 27 percent wetter.

The typical winter there is more than 15 degrees warmer and 84 percent drier than we experience in the Bayou City.

What If We Reduce Greenhouse Gases?

The researchers also ran numbers for how reduced carbon emissions might slow the climate change already in motion. In that scenario, Houston would be more like Kingsville, Texas, in 2080. The typical summer in that city, near Corpus Christi, is 2.4 degrees warmer than Houston.

Researcher Matt Fitzpatrick from the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science assembled the data into an interactive map where users can click their city and see what their climate could be like in 60 years.

“We wanted to communicate how the climate would be different in a generation in a way that might resonate in a more real way,” he tells Houston Matters.

Air PollutionTo reach these conclusions, researchers relied on current global climate data – broader patterns around the world – along with projections of future climate from global models and weather data from the actual cities in order to adjust for variables.

Fitzpatrick says the cities in the report would, on average, feel more like a place 500 miles to their south. New York City would be more like Arkansas. St. Louis would be more like Dallas. And cities like Oklahoma City and Memphis would inherit the climates of Houston.

In the audio above, Fitzpatrick tells Houston Matters host Craig Cohen more about his research.

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Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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