Washington, D.C.

Politics are not the only thing heating up in Washington, D.C. The climate is, too.

Burkett: “By the end of the century, climate models show that if humans continue to burn fossil fuels at the same rate as today, that summers in the D.C. area will feel more like the climate at the border of Mexico near the southern tip of Texas.”

That’s Virginia Burkett, associate director for climate and land use change at the U.S. Geological Survey. She says the warming is already noticeable.

Burkett: “An analysis of temperature for the broad D.C. region shows that 2016 had the second warmest autumn on record since World War II.”

The warmer temperatures are not just uncomfortable. A study from Columbia University found that before the end of the century, heat-related deaths in Washington D.C. could nearly double, to more than 200 a year.

Burkett is particularly worried about the effects of extreme heat on the elderly, the very young, those with medical conditions, and low-income people who cannot afford to just turn up the air conditioning.

But with the average summer highs reaching the mid-nineties in the next several decades, everyone inside the beltway will feel the heat.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...