Fastest-warming states since 1970

desert town with railroad tracks in arizona

Just a degree or two degrees hotter doesn’t seem like a lot. You would barely notice the change on a sunny afternoon or in the warmth of a cup of coffee. But over time, it’s enough to change our environment from top to bottom.

Every state is growing warmer, with higher temperatures fueled by everything from powerful ocean currents and giant coal-fired power plants to commuters, cows, and leaky old buildings.

To determine the fastest-warming states in America, Stacker consulted the climate at a glance tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All states (save Hawaii and Alaska, for which state-level data is unavailable) are ranked here according to their average warming, with the temperature changes of each state’s fastest-warming cities included for context. Ties are broken by the fastest-warming city in each state. Where available, data for the three fastest-warming cities are included; for some states, data for only one or two cities were available. 

The leading cause of rising temperatures today is an increase in human-derived greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane. The more gases we emit by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal, and in our farming practices, the more heat is trapped. Plants and trees mitigate the situation somewhat by absorbing carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, too, but it can only store so much. 

As temperatures rise, winters grow shorter. The ice on the Great Lakes forms later and disappears earlier. Colorado’s snowpack is melting as many as 30 days earlier than it was just a generation ago. With less snow in the New Mexico and Colorado mountains to feed the Rio Grande, the river is drying up.

Meanwhile, springs are wetter with flooding more common (and more destructive), and summers are drier with longer stifling heat waves that can be debilitating—and deadly—for those who cannot afford the price of staying cool. Strong winds fuel wildfires across mountain forests, and barges run aground in the low waters of the Mississippi River.

Evaporation threatens supplies of water for drinking and irrigation, while algal blooms choke inland lakes. In the heartland, crop yields are declining. Along the coasts, land is getting too salty for farming, as intruding saltwater seeps into freshwater aquifers and groundwater. 

Spectacular beaches are also disappearing. Rising seas threaten the existence of scenic barrier islands. According to a 2020 study published in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, ocean levels around the world could rise more than four feet by 2100 if aggressive mitigation efforts aren’t undertaken.

Many states are taking action to burn less coal, use less electricity, tighten fuel standards, encourage people to drive less, create greener cities, and construct more efficient buildings to change our consumption, our behaviors, our habits, and our attitudes about warming temperatures. Keep reading to see which states have experienced the fastest temperature increases in the last 52 years and how those increases have affected the people calling those states home.

Pixabay

#48. Washington

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 1.0° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Yakima (+1.1° F, #166 fastest-warming city)
— Olympia (+0.3° F, #173 fastest-warming city)

Washington produces more electricity from hydroelectric power than any other state, thanks to the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, which is the largest-capacity hydroelectric power plant in the country. But the state’s greenhouse gas emissions have been on the rise. Its booming economy, population growth, transportation sector, and the heating of residential and commercial buildings are all contributing factors. 

Pixabay

#47. Idaho

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 1.7° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Boise (+1.8° F, #157 fastest-warming city)
— Pocatello (+0.8° F, #171 fastest-warming city)

Idaho’s arid climate tends to warm more quickly than other, wetter climates. The temperature rise in Boise is more than twice the national average, attributed in part to the city’s car and truck usage. City officials have found the average Boise resident makes 10 trips a day.

You may also like: Fastest-warming cities in the US

Pixabay

#46. Oregon

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 1.8° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Medford (+2.9° F, #129 fastest-warming city)
— Pendleton (+2.4° F, #149 fastest-warming city)
— Salem (+1.6° F, #161 fastest-warming city)

Higher temperatures in Oregon and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest are linked to more droughts, less snow in the mountains (a significant source of fresh water), and a longer and more destructive wildfire season. In March 2020, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took aim at the state’s sources of greenhouse gas emissions, setting industry caps and strengthening a clean fuels program to reduce carbon intensity in gasoline and diesel.

You may also like: Places with the most weather-related fatalities

Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#45. Louisiana

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.4° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Monroe (+3.7° F, #75 fastest-warming city)
— New Orleans (+3.1° F, #120 fastest-warming city)
— Shreveport (+2.9° F, #131 fastest-warming city)

Louisiana’s oil refiners and natural gas producers are heavy energy users, contributing about half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Warming temperatures are also tied to its Mississippi River delta and its coast along the Gulf of Mexico, where the water temperature has been rising for years.

Pixabay

#44. California

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.5° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— San Diego (+2.7° F, #138 fastest-warming city)
— Los Angeles (+2.6° F, #142 fastest-warming city)
— Eureka (+1.4° F, #163 fastest-warming city)

The use of fossil fuels in California has contributed significantly to rising temperatures. Impacts from these increases include searing heat waves and dry summers that contribute to deadlier wildfires. Fires, in turn, create more warming, emitting carbon dioxide, and ash while also destroying forests, homes, and wildlife.

Pixabay

#43. Utah

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.5° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Salt Lake City (+3.2° F, #114 fastest-warming city)
— Cedar City (+3.2° F, #112 fastest-warming city)

Most of Utah’s residents live in mountain valleys that are susceptible to temperature inversions—blankets of warm air that sit on top of colder air and trap pollution below. Rising temperatures make inversions more common. They also cause winter snowpack to melt earlier in the year, reducing the state’s water supply. About 75 percent of Utah’s water goes toward ranches and farm irrigation. 

The state is making progress: In 2021, 61% of its net electricity generation was produced by coal-fired power plants, a 14% drop from 2015 numbers. And as of April 2022, solar power made up 10% of Utah’s total generation. 

You may also like: U.S. cities with the cleanest air

Eduardo Medrano // Shutterstock

#42. Arkansas

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.5° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Little Rock (+4.2° F, #41 fastest-warming city)
— Fort Smith (+3.7° F, #72 fastest-warming city)

Almost 40% of Arkansas’ in-state electricity supply comes from coal, and the state’s rice production—the largest in the U.S.—uses natural gas for drying the rice each fall. The Arkansas Fish and Game Commission has warned that Arkansas can expect more heat waves, heat-related illness, intense rainfall, erosion, drought, and flooding due to climate change.

Pixabay

#41. Oklahoma

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.6° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Tulsa (+3.9° F, #59 fastest-warming city)
— Oklahoma City (+2.4° F, #148 fastest-warming city)

Oklahoma generates more than 40% of its electricity from the wind; however, despite harnessing so much renewable energy, the state’s transportation sector and its continued development of the Oklahoma City area have contributed to warming temperatures. Drier soils will increase demand for irrigation on farms—further depleting aquifers.

Pixabay

#40. Nevada

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.7° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— las Vegas (+4.6° F, #25 fastest-warming city)
— Carson City (+4.4° F, #32 fastest-warming city)
— Elko (+3.1° F, #117 fastest-warming city)

Nevada ranks among the top U.S. states utilizing the most geothermal and solar energy to produce electrical power, while simultaneously phasing out coal-fired plants. But urban development and transportation use contribute to the state’s rising temperatures. Nevada gets the least annual average rainfall of any state and is undergoing lengthier heat waves, earlier mountain snowmelt, and more evaporation, adversely affecting rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Las Vegas is one of the nation’s most intense urban heat islands, where buildings and pavement retain heat.

You may also like: 30 of the most devastating hailstorms in U.S. history

Pixabay

#39. Texas

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.8° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Austin (+4.0° F, #49 fastest-warming city)
— Amarillo (+3.7° F, #70 fastest-warming city)
— Houston (+3.7° F, #80 fastest-warming city)

Texas’ Rio Grande has been badly stressed by warming-induced evaporation and a reduction in meltwater. The snowpack in the mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado that feeds the river has declined about 25% since the late 1950s. As the 1,900-mile-long river dries up, its cooling effects wane, and there is less water for drinking and irrigation.

Pixabay

#38. Kansas

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.8° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Topeka (+4.7° F, #14 fastest-warming city)
— Goodland (+3.0° F, #125 fastest-warming city)
— Wichita (+2.9° F, #130 fastest-warming city)

In Kansas, soil is drier, rain is less predictable and more intense, and flooding is more frequent and severe due to higher temperatures. The added precipitation raises the level of moisture in the soil, which does not drain and causes damaging flooding. About one-fifth of Kansas’ farmland is irrigated, but warming is projected to dry up rivers and streams and deplete the available water supply.

Pixabay

#37. Wyoming

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.8° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Sheridan (+4.8° F, #11 fastest-warming city)
— lander (+2.5° F, #147 fastest-warming city)
— Casper (+2.3° F, #152 fastest-warming city)

Wyoming is sparsely populated, and much of its land is used for livestock grazing. Cattle produce methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide in trapping heat. Warmer temperatures have contributed to a jump in the number of potentially toxic algae blooms.

Droughts in Wyoming can be severe: With the state situated at the top of key watersheds, there aren’t alternative water sources coming into it.

Pixabay

#36. Maine

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.9° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Bangor (+2.8° F, #134 fastest-warming city)
— Caribou (+2.6° F, #141 fastest-warming city)

The Gulf of Maine, along the state’s nearly 3,500-mile coastline, has been warming seven times as fast as the global ocean average. It is where cold Arctic water meets warm water from the Gulf Stream, and the higher temperatures are linked to wider ocean warming and ice melting in the Arctic Ocean. The higher temperatures threaten the state’s key pulp and paper industry by making spruce and fir forests vulnerable to invasive species and pest infestations. The warming also damages Maine’s fisheries. 

f11photo // Shutterstock

#35. Missouri

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.9° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— St. Louis (+3.3° F, #108 fastest-warming city)
— Springfield (+2.8° F, #133 fastest-warming city)

Although Missouri has made significant progress in reducing its carbon emissions, roughly three-quarters of the state’s electricity generation comes from coal. As of 2021, Missouri used more coal for power generation than any other state except West Virginia. Warmer temperatures in the state mean more frequent flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and more summer droughts.

You may also like: States with the most hailstorms

Pixabay

#34. Arizona

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.9° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Flagstaff (+3.6° F, #85 fastest-warming city)
— Phoenix (+3.6° F, #90 fastest-warming city)
— Yuma (+3.4° F, #101 fastest-warming city)

Phoenix and Tucson are two of the nation’s fastest-warming cities —temperatures in each have risen at least 4.3 degrees since 1970. Each is considered an urban heat island, where structures and surfaces retain heat.

Pixabay

#33. Montana

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 2.9° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Glasgow (+3.8° F, #63 fastest-warming city)
— Billings (+3.8° F, #61 fastest-warming city)
— Missoula (+3.3° F, #107 fastest-warming city)

Evidence of warming temperatures in Montana, which uses coal and a significant amount of hydropower to produce its electricity, can be found in the northern mountains of Glacier National Park. The park had more than 100 glaciers when it was established in 1910. Now, there are about two dozen glaciers left due to higher summer temperatures and shrinking winter snowpack. The Park Service says warmer, drier conditions have contributed to frequent, severe wildfires in western states since the early 1980s and that they are expected to continue.

Pixabay

#32. New Mexico

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.0° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Albuquerque (+3.2° F, #111 fastest-warming city)

New Mexico residents produce 31 tons of greenhouse gas per person yearly, compared with a national average of 18 tons. The state’s solids and gas industries contributed a quarter of those emissions, followed by transportation use. Roughly a third of New Mexico’s gas emissions are methane, largely from the oil and gas industries. Less snowpack and more evaporation dry up soils and water supplies, taking a toll on the Navajo reservation, where a third of the population hauls in water.

ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#31. Georgia

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.0° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Augusta (+3.9° F, #56 fastest-warming city)
— Atlanta (+3.3° F, #102 fastest-warming city)
— Macon (+2.6° F, #143 fastest-warming city)

Forty-nine percent of Georgia’s electricity in 2020 came from natural gas. Twelve percent of its energy is renewable. Projections indicate that the state, which now has an average of 20 dangerous heat days every year, could see that number rise to more than 90 days a year by 2050. Extreme heat in the state threatens around 310,000 people considered particularly vulnerable.

Pixabay

#30. South Carolina

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Columbia (+3.2° F, #115 fastest-warming city)
— Charleston (+2.8° F, #135 fastest-warming city)
— Sioux Falls (+4.8° F, #12 fastest-warming city)

Although nuclear power plants supplied 55% of South Carolina’s electricity in 2020, its industrial sector uses a third of the state’s overall energy. Critics, including the state’s wildlife association and a special task force addressing climate change, say the state needs to confront rising temperatures and sprawling coastal development or risk flooding, saltwater intrusion, beach erosion, crop loss, and hotter summers that would be dangerous to residents who cannot afford air conditioning or are forced to work outside.

Pixabay

#29. Mississippi

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Jackson (+3.4° F, #97 fastest-warming city)
— Tupelo (+3.1° F, #121 fastest-warming city)

Mississippi soil has grown drier, exacerbating the effects of heavy downpours throughout the state that damage crop yields and livestock. More extreme weather, earlier winter snowmelt in the north, and more powerful rains mean flooding along the Mississippi River is more frequent and more destructive.

Pixabay

#28. Iowa

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Sioux City (+4.3° F, #35 fastest-warming city)
— Waterloo (+4.1° F, #48 fastest-warming city)
— Dubuque (+3.8° F, #62 fastest-warming city)

Warming over the Gulf of Mexico pushes more frequent heavy storms to the Midwest, causing destructive flooding in states like Iowa. Development in Des Moines has made flooding worse due to runoff and an outdated storm sewer system. Flooding endangers farming which makes up a quarter of the state’s economy. Annual precipitation in Iowa has been increasing since the 1970s at 1.25 inches per decade.

Pixabay

#27. Nebraska

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Norfolk (+4.6° F, #22 fastest-warming city)
— Scottsbluff (+4.1° F, #46 fastest-warming city)
— Omaha (+3.4° F, #98 fastest-warming city)

Nebraska’s in-state energy use is the seventh-highest in the U.S. due to the power needs of agriculture practices, irrigation systems, and food processing. Warming temperatures in the state have brought heavy rains, erosion, and higher humidity levels that stress livestock.

Pixabay

#26. Minnesota

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.2° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Rochester (+4.0° F, #53 fastest-warming city)
— St. Paul (+3.6° F, #86 fastest-warming city)
— International Falls (+3.4° F, #99 fastest-warming city)

While Minnesota typically has a cold climate,  its temperatures have risen 3.2 degrees in the last half-century. The state’s winter temperatures are projected to rise by 11 degrees by 2100, and its summers are likely to rise about 7 degrees. More freeze-thaw cycles, wetter winters, and drier summers are already affecting vegetation, wildlife, agriculture, and the recreation industry.

Pixabay

#25. Alabama

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.2° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Mobile (+4.1° F, #44 fastest-warming city)
— Birmingham (+3.6° F, #87 fastest-warming city)
— Montgomery (+3.1° F, #116 fastest-warming city)

Warming nights, along with warming winters, threaten Alabama’s coast and forests with pests and invasive species. Insects that would have died off in the cool of winter no longer do so, and species moving in with the warmer temperatures are pushing others out. Warming temperatures cause evaporation which, along with population growth and irrigation needs, could cut the state’s water supply by 5% over the next 40 years.

Pixabay

#24. Florida

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.2° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Tampa (+4.0° F, #54 fastest-warming city)
— Fort Myers (+3.9° F, #60 fastest-warming city)
— Orlando (+3.8° F, #68 fastest-warming city)

The three hot spots for temperature rise in Florida—Tampa, Tallahassee, and Panama City—sit close to the Gulf of Mexico, which has been warming for decades. Data from NOAA showed the Gulf’s temperature was at a historic high ahead of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and the combined heat and moisture contributed to the storm’s devastating power. Global warming threatens the state with more frequent and destructive hurricanes.

ESB Professional // Shutterstock

#23. Tennessee

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.2° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Knoxville (+4.4° F, #31 fastest-warming city)
— Memphis (+3.7° F, #74 fastest-warming city)
— Nashville (+3.6° F, #89 fastest-warming city)

Tennessee has gradually moved away from coal for electricity, which is produced by area energy giant Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Three coal-fired plants have closed since 2012, and two more are slated to close in the next three years, leaving four in operation.

You may also like: States with the most severe summer weather

Pixabay

#22. Wisconsin

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.2° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Milwaukee (+4.6° F, #20 fastest-warming city)
— Green Bay (+4.6° F, #18 fastest-warming city)
— Madison (+4.3° F, #38 fastest-warming city)

Warming temperatures in Wisconsin have brought more frequent heavy rainstorms and flooding, and ice on the Great Lakes is forming later and melting earlier. The amount of rain falling on the four wettest days of the year has increased by 35% in the past 50 years.

Pixabay

#21. Colorado

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.3° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Pueblo (+3.8° F, #65 fastest-warming city)
— Colorado Springs (+3.7° F, #71 fastest-warming city)
— Grand Junction (+2.8° F, #136 fastest-warming city)

Nearly all of Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuels burned for electricity, transportation, and residential, commercial, and industrial heating applications. The warming temperatures cause water scarcity, drought, and pine beetle infestation, and the snowpack is reduced, melting as much as 30 days sooner than it was 25 years ago. Colorado relies on snowpack for 70% of its water supply.

Pixabay

#20. North Dakota

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.3° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Dickinson (+4.7° F, #17 fastest-warming city)
— Bismarck (+4.5° F, #27 fastest-warming city)
— Fargo (+4.0° F, #51 fastest-warming city)

Nearly two-thirds of North Dakota’s electricity is produced by coal-burning power plants, although wind energy accounts for another quarter of production. Its warming temperatures increase precipitation, the severity of storms, and the risk of flooding. Floods have worsened considerably in the watershed of the Red River in the eastern part of the state.

Pixabay

#19. North Carolina

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.3° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Raleigh (+5.6° F, #4 fastest-warming city)
— Charlotte (+4.7° F, #16 fastest-warming city)
— Greensboro (+3.7° F, #73 fastest-warming city)

About a third of North Carolina’s greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation and another third from transportation use. The state’s greenhouse gas emissions are fueled by its growing economy, especially the high-tech, biotech, and finance industries. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the scenic Outer Banks barrier islands will be splintered or eroded away if sea level rises 2 feet by 2100.

Pixabay

#18. Illinois

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.4° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Chicago (+4.6° F, #24 fastest-warming city)
— Rockford (+4.3° F, #40 fastest-warming city)
— Springfield (+3.8° F, #66 fastest-warming city)

Cars and trucks have become the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Illinois, according to U.S. government data. The rise in vehicle emissions has been fueled by commuters, delivery services, and ride-hailing companies. Illinois is the fifth-largest energy consumer in the country due in large part to petroleum refining and coal mining.

Pixabay

#17. South Dakota

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.5° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Sioux Falls (+4.8° F, #12 fastest-warming city)
— Pierre (+3.9° F, #58 fastest-warming city)
— Rapid City (+3.4° F, #100 fastest-warming city)

South Dakota will suffer a 75% increase in the severity of its summer droughts by 2050. The state now averages 10 dangerous heat days per year; that number is projected to hit 35 days by 2050.

Patricia Hofmeester // Shutterstock

#16. New Hampshire

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.6° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Concord (+3.7° F, #77 fastest-warming city)

Since 1970, winter temperatures in New Hampshire and surrounding New England States have risen more than in the rest of the country. In Concord alone, the winters have warmed nearly twice the national average. New Hampshire’s tourism industry could be hit hard by the impacts of climate change with fewer ski season days, damage to sugar maples, flooding of coastal towns, a loss of cold water trout fishing, and dulled fall foliage due to unhealthy and dying trees.

Pixabay

#15. Michigan

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.6° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Sault Ste. Marie (+3.7° F, #78 fastest-warming city)
— Detroit (+3.6° F, #84 fastest-warming city)
— Muskegon (+3.6° F, #88 fastest-warming city)

The surface temperature of all five Great Lakes has increased since 1995. Michigan’s proximity to Lakes Michigan, Huron, Superior, and Erie contributes to rising temperatures throughout the state. Roughly a 10th of the state’s electricity generation is renewable. Warmer temperatures mean more algal blooms—which threaten drinking water supplies and create flooding that overflows sewer systems—in Michigan’s lakes. 

Pixabay

#14. West Virginia

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.6° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Huntington (+4.0° F, #52 fastest-warming city)
— Beckley (+3.6° F, #82 fastest-warming city)
— Elkins (+3.3° F, #106 fastest-warming city)

West Virginia lies in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, where higher temperatures put the region’s critical forest cover at risk. Increasingly heavy rainfall and powerful storms cause flooding during the state’s winters and springs, while higher temperatures threaten drought in the summer and fall.

Pixabay

#13. Kentucky

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.6° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Lexington (+4.5° F, #28 fastest-warming city)
— Paducah (+4.2° F, #43 fastest-warming city)
— Louisville (+4.2° F, #42 fastest-warming city)

A major source of greenhouse gas emissions in Kentucky is the high amount of coal the state uses to generate electricity. That has produced low electricity rates, which in turn, has lured in industries with high energy usage. Other gas-producing activities include coal mining; iron, steel, cement and lime manufacturing; natural gas production; and manure management. Over the last few decades, Kentucky has seen higher average overnight low temperatures, extreme rains, and flooding.

Pixabay

#12. Indiana

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.7° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Indianapolis (+4.1° F, #45 fastest-warming city)
— Fort Wayne (+3.9° F, #57 fastest-warming city)
— South Bend (+3.7° F, #76 fastest-warming city)

Rising temperatures in Indiana are affecting crop production. In 2019, its second-wettest year in history, corn and soybean crop yields dropped significantly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Indiana farmers alone lost an estimated $469 million in corn revenue. Unless Indiana cuts emissions, models show that the average number of days in Indiana with a heat index above 100 degrees will increase from four to 43 days a year by mid-century.

Pixabay

#11. Vermont

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.8° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Montpelier (+4.3° F, #39 fastest-warming city)

 Transportation use accounts for about half of Vermont’s emissions. More than half the state’s households are heated with petroleum, nearly one in seven burn wood for their heat, and many of Vermont’s old, inefficient residential and commercial buildings leak heat. 

cla78 // Shutterstock

#10. New York

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 3.9° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— New York (La Guardia) (+5.2° F, #7 fastest-warming city)
— New York (JFK) (+4.6° F, #21 fastest-warming city)
— Syracuse (+4.1° F, #47 fastest-warming city)

About a third of New York’s electricity comes from nuclear power plants, considered zero emitters. In 2020, the state produced more hydroelectric power than every state except Washington and Oregon. With almost one in three residents using public transportation to get to work (pre-pandemic), New York consumes less petroleum per capita than any other state. But warming temperatures—particularly upstate in cities like Albany—leave the state vulnerable to destructive storms and inland flooding.

Pixabay

#9. Connecticut

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.0° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Hartford (+4.3° F, #37 fastest-warming city)
— Bridgeport (+4.3° F, #36 fastest-warming city)

A major source of temperature increases in Connecticut is the warming ocean. Research has found those higher temperatures spread inland via connected waterways. As sea levels rise, Connecticut’s coastal wetlands, beaches, and shoreline development are threatened. Inland, warmer temperatures disrupt the state’s lucrative dairy industry, causing cows to eat less and produce less milk.

You may also like: Average temperature change in every state over the past 100 years

Sherry V Smith // Shutterstock

#8. Virginia

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.0° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Richmond (+5.4° F, #5 fastest-warming city)
— Roanoke (+4.6° F, #23 fastest-warming city)

Nearly two-thirds of Virginia’s electricity is generated by the burning of fossil fuels. Two proposed pipelines—the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline—would cross the state carrying natural gas from West Virginia and have prompted concern over Virginia’s links to natural gas. The state has experienced increasingly frequent and destructive storms and flooding.

You may also like: Natural disasters linked to climate change

Travellagio // Shutterstock

#7. Massachusetts

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Worcester (+4.0° F, #55 fastest-warming city)
— Boston (+3.6° F, #83 fastest-warming city)

Carbon emissions from cars and trucks are among the biggest sources of greenhouse gases in Massachusetts, due in part to extensive commuting in the Boston metro area and traffic congestion. With precipitation from heavy storms up 70% from the mid-20th century across the Northeast, flooding has threatened coastal communities and tidal wetlands where bass and clams are harvested. Warmer ocean waters mean the cod and lobster industry will also suffer.

Pixabay

#6. Ohio

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Akron (+5.7° F, #3 fastest-warming city)
— Cincinnati (+4.9° F, #10 fastest-warming city)
— Toledo (+4.6° F, #26 fastest-warming city)

Ohio is among the top 10 biggest coal-consuming states. In fact, in consumes three times as much coal as it produces. The last decade has been the state’s wettest ever, and warming brings the threat of more frequent and dangerous flooding.

Pixabay

#5. Pennsylvania

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.1° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Philadelphia (+5.9° F, #2 fastest-warming city)
— Erie (+5.2° F, #6 fastest-warming city)
— Harrisburg (+4.6° F, #19 fastest-warming city)

Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions come from industry, power plants, natural gas drilling, and traffic. Warmer temperatures lead to increased precipitation and powerful storms, both of which have taken a toll on infrastructure and crops. The warming also brings higher populations of ticks that carry Lyme disease; Pennsylvania has among the highest number of Lyme cases in the nation.

You may also like: States with the most CO2 emissions

CrackerClips Stock Media // Shutterstock

#4. Maryland

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.2° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Salisbury (+5.0° F, #8 fastest-warming city)
— Baltimore (+4.4° F, #30 fastest-warming city)

Sea levels are climbing faster in Maryland than elsewhere because the state’s coastal area itself is sinking. With the sea-level rise comes beach erosion, submerged tidal wetlands, and the intrusion of saltwater into freshwater aquifers, rendering soil too salty for crops and trees.

Dex Sightseeing Photography // Shutterstock

#3. Delaware

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.4° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Wilmington (+4.4° F, #34 fastest-warming city)

Projections show that Rising temperatures in Delaware mean the state, which has an average of 10 dangerous heat days a year, will have five times as many by 2050; around 20,000 state residents are already considered vulnerable to extreme heat. Delaware has a greater proportion of its land at risk of coastal flooding than any other continental state, except for Florida and Louisiana.

Albert Pego // Shutterstock

#2. Rhode Island

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.4° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Providence (+4.7° F, #13 fastest-warming city)

Transportation—including the use of cars, trucks, airplanes, and boats—accounts for more than a third of Rhode Island’s greenhouse gas emissions, followed by electricity consumption and residential heating. In addition, the state’s 420 miles of coastline along the warming Gulf Stream contributes to temperature increases. 

You may also like: Dramatic satellite observations that show the true scale of Arctic change

Pixabay

#1. New Jersey

– Temperature change 1970-2022: 4.5° F
– Fastest warming metro areas:
— Atlantic City (+4.9° F, #9 fastest-warming city)

Warming in New Jersey is linked to its location on the Atlantic coast, where higher water temperatures impact air temperatures. The rise of ocean temperatures on the east coast in the last three decades has forced aquatic life like American shad and lobster to move north. Inland lakes have been stricken with toxic algae blooms that have closed beaches. 

This story originally appeared and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio. Written by: Ellen Dewitt.

Last Updated on August 1, 2022 by Davin

###