As we head into the dog days of summer, 2019 is projected to be among the top five hottest years on record. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"This would mean that the five warmest years on record for the globe would have been the last five years," said Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, a climate scientist with the agency.
Sánchez-Lugo expects global temperatures to continue to rise this year, mostly during typically cooler night times.
"During the daytime, the temperatures are hot. And at nighttime, temperatures tend to cool and people, animals and vegetation tend to cool off," she said. "But as the temperatures are warming, then there's still some stress occurring."
This can impact agriculture, ranching and public health in the Mountain West. A report from the Desert Research Institute shows a strong correlation between heat waves and an increase in heat-related deaths.
Sánchez-Lugo says she expects to see more frequent and intense heat waves as the global climate continues to warm.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, and KUNC and KRCC in Colorado.
Copyright 2019 KUNR. For more, visit kunr.org.