Some of the United States’ most highly populated cities are among its hottest places to live and rent an apartment. Some of these cities regularly reach extremes of above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.
These high temperatures are in part because, when natural landscapes are replaced by buildings, roads, and other infrastructure, temperatures often rise. The construction of these buildings is called a “heat island.” In the evening, temperatures in urban heat islands can be as much as 22 degrees warmer than in nearby rural areas. Here are five of the country’s most highly populous heat islands.
1. Phoenix, Arizona
Over 1.6 million people live in Phoenix. According to data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Phoenix is currently the hottest city in the United States.
From the end of May through the middle of September, Phoenix temperatures go over the 100-degree mark every day. These hot days are followed by warm nights with lower temperatures that nevertheless sometimes fail to drop below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, a popular tourist destination in the southwestern United States, is home to 2.6 million people. On more than 70 days per year, Las Vegas reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Las Vegas has reaches its record high of 117 degrees multiple times. It is tied with Tucson, Arizona in terms of the highest recorded temperature, but the average summer day’s temperature is much higher in Las Vegas, reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is another city in Arizona with one of the hottest temperatures in the United States. Home to over 500,000 people, Tucson’s temperature regularly reaches above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for about four months each year. The typical mid-summer daily high temperatures are 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 2013, Tucson had one of its hottest summers. The city had a heatwave of 100-degree temperatures for 39 consecutive days, including all of June.
4. Riverside, California
The Pacific Ocean helps to decrease temperatures in the coastal areas of Southern California. However, cities further inland can experience much hotter conditions.
Riverside, California is approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and has a population of about 300,000. The city has recorded 100-degree heat every month from April through October with an all-time high of 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Austin, Texas
Austin, which is Texas’ capital city, is sweltering hot and home to about one million people. During the summer months, the city’s high temperatures regularly reach above 90 degrees. Historically, Austin’s temperatures peak in August and gradually drop thereafter.
According to many studies, there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than at any point in at least the last two million years. An increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere causes higher temperatures, and just like the rest of the world, the United States is heating up. Especially in the South and Southwest, cities and heat islands result in shockingly high temperatures.