Can Phoenix sustain growth as climate change keeps making summers hotter?

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2023 - 11:42am
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2023 - 11:43am

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An aerial photo of Phoenix
Carol Harvey/KJZZ
An aerial photo of Phoenix in 2019.

This summer’s historic heat wave across the Southwest has shattered records and garnered international headlines as the world watches the devastating impacts of extreme heat.

We still don’t know the number of lives that have been lost due to the heat this year, and Gov. Katie Hobbs declared a heat state of emergency in three Arizona counties to direct more resources to mitigate the effects of the heat.

While we’ve heard a lot about the effects of the heat this summer — the unhoused people who are most at risk, the cost of cooling our homes, the urban heat island effect that’s making it harder for the city to cool down at night — it's also important  to talk about why this is happening: climate change.

And for that, The Show turned to someone who knows a lot about it. Randy Cerveny is the keeper of the world’s records of weather for the World Meteorological Organization and a professor in Arizona State University's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Cerveny connects the dots between climate change and the increasing heat we’re experiencing in the Southwest. 

Randy Cerveny
Amber Victoria Singer/KJZZ
Randy Cerveny

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