Jun 18, 2021 - News

Triple-digit heat in Denver becoming more frequent

Denver 100°+ days by year
Data: NWS; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The record-breaking heat gripping Colorado is only becoming more common, and scientists say it's driven by climate change.

By the numbers: About half of the triple-digit days recorded in Denver in the last 149 years came since 2000, a new Axios Denver analysis of National Weather Service data shows.

  • The other half came in a 128-year span dating back to 1872.

Of note: Denver hit 101° on Tuesday and 100° on Wednesday and Thursday — only the sixth time on record for three consecutive days of triple-digit heat and the earliest streak ever.

Why it matters: Meteorologists warned that the heat dome is producing "dangerous and potentially deadly" conditions, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • The heat exacerbates existing drought conditions — particularly in southern and western Colorado — and amplifies the threat of wildfires.

What's happening: Climate change is making the heat more severe than it otherwise would be, Freedman writes.

  • According to research by climate scientist Michael Wehner of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, human-caused climate change is boosting temperatures by about 3 to 5 degrees during this heat wave.

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