ASU Study: Arizona will only get hotter

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Arizona State University researchers say population growth is changing the state's climate.

Blaming continued population growth through the Sun Corridor, the area from Nogales through Tucson, Phoenix, and Prescott, the research team predicts average summer temperatures will increase by between three and seven degrees by 2050.

"The magnitude surprised me. It's pretty considerable," said Dr. Matei Georgescu.  

A team from ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and the School of Mathematical Statistical Science put the report together.

Population growth could reach close to 10 million in the Sun Corridor by 2050.  The added roads, homes, and buildings are to blame for the rise in average summer temperature, according to the ASU team.

"The heat is absorbed all day, and then re-emitted at night.  There will be less cooling at night," said Georgescu.

In Phoenix, several projects are underway to mitigate the expected rise in temperature due to population growth.

The light rail is one example. The sky train at Sky Harbor Airport is another. It will eliminate the need for dozens of buses.

Phoenix officials are also pushing urban forestry initiatives, green construction and solar energy.

"It's incumbent on us all to make sure that this expansion is done in a very sustainable and green fashion," explained Georgescu.

Click here to view the full ASU report.