New Report: Temperatures Up in Detroit, Michigan

Media Releases

Environment Michigan

DETROIT—As the presidential candidates return to the campaign trail following the final presidential debate where they discussed the most important issues facing our country, Environment Michigan released a new report documenting that the average temperature in Detroit in 2007 was 1.5 °F above the historical average.  The year 2007 tied for the second warmest year on record globally and was the 10th warmest year on record in the United States.  These record temperatures are part of a trend toward rising temperatures resulting from global warming.

“Throw out the record books because global warming is raising temperatures in Michigan and across the country,” said Environment Michigan Grassroots Field Coordinator Andy Klitzke.  “While one or two degrees may not seem like much, just as any parent with a sick child knows, even a small rise in temperature can have a big effect,” he continued.

According to NASA, seven of the eight warmest years on record globally have occurred since 2001.  These above-average temperatures led Environment Michigan to more closely examine recent temperature trends at the local level. 

“Feeling the Heat: Global Warming and Rising Temperatures in the United States” compares government temperature data for the years 2000-2007 with the historical average, or “normal,” temperature for the preceding 30 years, 1971-2000.  Our data were collected at 255 weather stations – those with the highest quality data – in all 50 states and Washington, DC. 

Key findings for Michigan include:

  • In 2007, the average temperature was 1.5°F above normal in Detroit.
  • Detroit’s above-average temperatures in 2007 are part of a warming trend.  Between 2000 and 2007, the average temperature was 1.2°F above the historical average in Detroit.  Nationally, the average temperature during this eight-year period was at least 0.5°F above normal at nearly 90 percent of the weather stations.
  • Detroit experienced average minimum temperatures — the lowest temperatures recorded on a given day, usually at night — of 1.3°F above normal in 2007.  Warmer nighttime summer temperatures exacerbate the public health effects of extreme heat, since people need cooler nighttime temperatures to recover from excessive heat exposure during the day.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the prestigious United Nations body that won a Nobel Prize last year for its work – has concluded the evidence of global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activities are responsible for most of the increase in global average temperatures.  Burning fossil fuels to power cars, homes, and industry produces most U.S. global warming emissions.

A recent Bush administration report said “it is very likely” that more people will die in the United States during extremely hot periods in the future.  In addition, the report identified water shortages from early snowmelt, degraded air quality, heat waves, drought, and extreme rainfall with flooding, sea level rise as particular risks for the East North Central region.

Energy issues have featured prominently in both presidential and vice-presidential debates this election season.  “We’re at a crossroads on energy, and it’s up to the next President to choose a new path that curbs global warming and helps recharge our struggling economy,” said Klitzke.

“It’s clear that our energy crisis isn’t just hurting us at the pump, but it’s also causing Michiganders to feel the heat.  The good news is that repowering America with wind and solar power will curb global warming, and clean, renewable energy is one of the few bright spots in our troubled economy,” said Klitzke.

According to the latest climate science, the United States and the world must break its dependence on fossil fuels and transition rapidly to 100 percent clean, renewable energy if we hope to avoid the most catastrophic effects of global warming.

Specifically, the United States must reduce its global warming emissions by at least 20 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050 and make energy efficiency improvements and the accelerated development of renewable energy the centerpiece of our environmental and economic development policies.
 
Recently, more than 150 members of Congress, including Representative John Conyers, Jr., endorsed strong principles for action on energy and global warming.  Environment America urged that those principles be the blueprint for action for the next President and Congress. 

“We commend Representative Conyers for his leadership on this critical issue.  And we urge Representatives Kilpatrick and Ehlers to cosponsor the Safe Climate Act (H.R. 1590), a strong science-based legislation that would put the United States on track to solving global warming,” concluded Klitzke.