Think it’s hotter when you walk the dog at night than you’re used to? Here’s why

Overnight low temperatures warmer due to the effects of climate change

ORLANDO, Fla. – If you have lived in Central Florida long enough, you know that even in the dog days of summer, some relief from the heat could be found in the evening. If it seems that relief is harder to come by than it used to be, you would be correct.

While afternoons in the summer are typically brutal, the evenings are getting increasingly uncomfortable.

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In Orlando, each of the last three years — 2021, 2020 and 2019 — have finished in the top ten on record for warmest summers. That data is achieved by averaging the highs and lows of each day from June through August.

By averaging just the overnight lows for Orlando, still each of the last three years finish in the top ten on record for warmest average low temperature for the season. When you average the high temperature for the afternoons, however, none of the last three years finish in the top ten.

It’s data confirming that the warmer evenings and overnights are helping to warm the overall temperature for most of Central Florida. It’s even more evident along the coast where the climate is influenced by the warm ocean waters.

A warming atmosphere can hold more moisture. When more moisture is present, the temperature warms and cools at a slower pace. It’s one of the reasons why out of the last 16 temperature records that have occurred at the Orlando International Airport this past year, 11 were because of warm overnight lows.

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Our partners at Climate Central have developed a new Climate Shift Index that highlights the impact of climate change on any day’s local weather. A level above zero means that climate change has made that day’s temperature more common. The Climate Shift Index for the evening of June 28 and morning of June 29 highlights the impact climate change is having on the evening and overnight temperature in Central Florida.

Climate Shift Index for the morning low temperature of June 29

Most of the Florida Peninsula registers a 5 indicating that climate change has made the conditions at least five times more likely to occur or that these conditions would be exceptionally rare without climate change.

The Climate Change Index for the afternoon of the 28th, however is zero, indicating that our typically hot Central Florida afternoons are not being fueled by climate change.

Climate Shift Index for afternoon of June 28

This data is extremely important because warmer evenings and overnights means less relief from the typically hot afternoons. This also means higher utility bills, as your air conditioning is likely to run for longer periods of time overnight.

As the atmosphere continues to warm, be prepared for more steamy evenings when walking the dog.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.