Since World War II, when many Phoenix residents slept on porches outdoors, average summertime lows in Phoenix have risen above the human comfort zone. Average summertime lows have risen from 73 degrees to more than 80 degrees F. during the last half of the twentieth century. During the same fifty years, the Phoenix area’s human population has increased nearly twenty times, from roughly 150,000 to 2.8 million. Average daytime summer high temperatures in Phoenix have remained roughly the same during the same half-century, at between 102 and 104 degrees F. Dale Quattrochi, senior research scientist at NASA’s Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, Alabama, estimated that Phoenix temperatures likely will increase as much as 15 degrees, and possibly up to 20 degrees, over historic averages the next several decades (Yozwiak 1998). (For more information on urban heat islands, see Chapter 2.)
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