TUCSON, Ariz. — A new report ranks Tucson as the third-fastest-warming city in the country over the past several decades.
The report from Climate Central -- a group of climatologists, data analysts and journalists that produces reports on climate change -- says the average temperature in Tucson has jumped nearly 4.5 degrees since 1970. Phoenix ranks just below Tucson, at about 4.4 degrees.
Among states, Arizona ranks third in temperature changes from 1970 at 3.2 degrees, behind only New Mexico and Alaska.
The report uses data from 242 cities and 49 states compiled from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In a 2014 report, Climate Central says cities are likely to warm more quickly than rural areas. These "urban heat islands" absorb more heat from the sun during the day through concrete and pavement, then radiate that heat back into the air at night. Rural areas are more covered in vegetation and thus contain more moisture, the report says.
The report also cites independent studies that have shown urbanization accounts for only a small portion of global warming trends, but says global warming will exacerbate the urban heat island effect.