Texas will be hotter and its summers will average triple-digit temperatures within a few decades, according to a study by the state climatologist.
John Nielsen-Gammon, who also is a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, said results of the study present a chilling outlook: Maximum temperatures could be up to five degrees higher by 2060.
San Antonio's average maximum temperature in August was 98 degrees this year. If Nielsen-Gammon's projections hold true, average maximum temperatures would be as high as 103 degrees in August 2060.
“The unusually warm summers in parts of Texas in 2009 and 2010 were a taste of the future,” he said in a statement. “They are likely to be the typical summers of midcentury, and the unusually hot summers will be that much hotter.”
Nielsen-Gammon said the projections show temperatures would increase as much as one degree each decade if the upper end of climate models are correct.
The climatologist concluded — after combining model analyses from the National Center for Atmospheric Research with climate observations from the National Climatic Data Center — that the trend toward warmer temperatures began decades ago.
“The decade of the 1970s was the coldest period in recorded climate history for Texas,” he said. “Since then, temperatures have been rising decade by decade, and the models project a similar warming trend for the foreseeable future.”
His findings are part of the second edition of the book “The Impact of Global Warming on Texas,” for which he wrote a chapter and which is to be printed early next year.
Prior studies show that as temperatures rise, a variety of problems emerge, such as water shortages, more crop failures, longer and more severe droughts and greater difficulty in controlling air pollution.