May 6, 2024 - Climate

Massachusetts is a lot hotter than it was in the '70s

Map of average annual temperature change between 1970 and 2023 by U.S. state. Nationally, temperature increased by 2.6°F over this time period. Average temperature increased the most in Alaska, by 4.3°F, and the least in the Dakotas, by 1.8°F.
Data: Climate Central; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Massachusetts is one of the fastest-warming states in the country.

Why it matters: The Bay State's average temperature has risen 3.5°F in about a half-century, per a new Climate Central analysis based on annual average temperature increases from 1970 to 2023.

Alaska (+4.3°F) and Delaware (+3.6°F) are the only states warming faster than Massachusetts, Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng report.

Bar chart comparing average annual temperature change between 1970 and 2023 for Boston, Massachusetts and the U.S. Average temperature has changed by 1.9°F in Boston compared to 3.5°F for Massachusetts and 2.6°F for the U.S.
Data: Climate Central; Chart: Axios

The big picture: All 50 states and nearly all 241 U.S. cities the group analyzed have warmed since 1970.

Zoom in: Reno, Nevada (+7.6°F); Las Vegas, Nevada (+5.7°F); and El Paso, Texas (+5.4°F) were the fastest-warming cities over that period.

What we're watching: NOAA expects the temperature in Massachusetts to rise from the 2020 average of about 50 degrees to almost 54 degrees in the 2050s if global emissions grow at their current rate.

  • In the same timeframe, stronger storms and higher tides would put nearly 30,000 residential properties in Massachusetts at risk of flooding.
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