Nights Are Getting Warmer Across the United States, Analysis Finds - NBC Southern California
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Nights Are Getting Warmer Across the United States, Analysis Finds

It's not just you. A changing climate is making nights warmer across the United States, including California



    Storms Cause Flooding in Inland Empire
    AFP/Getty Images
    People walk beside the Santa Monica Pier as the sun sets on Santa Monica Beach in October 2014.

    Find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and forced to turn on the air conditioning more often? 

    It's not you. It's a changing climate making nights warmer across the United States, according to an analysis of thousands of daily temperature highs and lows over the past 40 years by NBC News. The data comes from more than 500 weather stations.

    The data shows that the ratio of record highs at night are outpacing record lows in most regions of the country. 

    Record highs should be hit about as often as record lows in a stable climate, a climatologist told NBC News. In other words, the ratio would be one to one.

    But the ratio has been tilting toward more night-time record highs for decades, according to the data. In the 1960s, the weather stations across the country recorded a nightime record-high to low ratio of 0.9. In the 1990s, the ratio was up to 1.4. This decade, through Sept. 6, the ratio is 1.7 — proof that nighttime record highs are occuring more often.

    In California, the ratio is 3.6.

    In Santa Monica, and other coastal communities, there's an expectation that the days will be warm and nights cool off with an ocean breeze that keeps things comfortable. At least, that's what Colin Specter thought when he moved back home from New York in 2016.

    "It was just hotter than it ever had been the last couple summers," Specter, 32, told NBC News. "Growing up in Los Angeles, that was not the norm."

    Heat waves, three straight days of above-normal temperatures, have also become more common over the past three decades in California. Days of extreme heat can make wildfires, whipped by strong fall winds, more difficult to fight and lead to heat-related illnesses.

    Want to see how your town or city has been affected by the rising night-time temperatures? Enter your zip code below.