The summer of 2022 hasn’t made as much news as last summer when temperatures in Oregon soared to 116 degrees during the famed “heat dome.” But many localities have experienced regularly warm weather.
According to Oregon State Climatologist Larry O’Neill, at least 12 Oregon communities saw the hottest July and August on record.
O’Neill, who is also an associate professor at Oregon State University, looked at the state’s average temperatures and concentrated on areas having at least 50 to 60 years of reliable data.
From Ontario and Burns in eastern Oregon to Portland and Eugene in the Willamette Valley, he found new average temperature records everywhere. Even the normally temperate Oregon Coast has been affected by the heat, with Astoria having its second-warmest two-month span in history.
Every summer appears to break records for temperature, and we’re just keeping up the trend, according to O’Neill.
O’Neill claimed that while 2022 has experienced its fair share of 100-degree bursts, average temperatures are growing as a result of constant, relentless heat during the day and little reprieve at night.
The Blob, a region of warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is one contributing reason, according to O’Neill. More humidity in Western Oregon is typically a result of warmer ocean water off the coast, and that moisture traps heat at night.
According to O’Neill, the spring, which was usually milder and wetter than usual throughout much of the state, marked a change from this summer’s heat.
He observed that Portland is an example of the “whipsaw effect” that climate change is having on Oregon’s weather. He pointed out that the “hot dome” of last year, which broke all previous records, was followed by snowfall in April, one of the wettest springs ever, and then this summer’s record average temperatures.
Even though it can be challenging to pinpoint the cause of any given weather occurrence, climate change does increase the likelihood of these kinds of shifts.
He claimed that Oregon’s water supply is in jeopardy and that the state’s agricultural farmers are particularly badly hit by the rising unpredictability. He claimed that increasing temperatures increase climate variability, which can result in longer dry spells and more intense precipitation.
In the future, O’Neill predicted, “these 500-year flooding catastrophes that we’re experiencing now across the globe will very certainly happen here.”
At Portland International Airport, the two-month average high was 74 degrees. The monitor hasn’t recorded more than that since at least 1938.
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