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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ: http://kjzz.org/science

2015 Brings Record Heat, And For Arizona This Means Warmer Nights

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Oct 21. that 2015 may be the hottest year on record. Global temperatures are record highs for seven months of the year to-date.

In Arizona, the daily high temperatures in 2015 have been warm, so far ranking in the top ten hottest years since 1895. But the state is experiencing a more drastic shift in nighttime temperatures.

Meteorologist Ken Waters, with the National Weather Service in Phoenix, said recently the most common daily records in the state are warm overnight lows. And January through September ranked first in the highest minimum temperatures ever recorded for that nine-month period in Arizona.

Nancy Selover, state climatologist, said Arizona is also seeing a winter warming trend.

“We have had fewer winter storms, and that means we don’t have as much cloudiness and cold air,” Selover said. “So we’re having clear skies, sunny conditions and that leads to warmer temperatures in the winter.”

Warm moisture from this year’s El Niño would need to be paired with polar winds from the north to help keep temperatures down over the winter months.