Miami hasn't just been extra-hot this year — at this point, it sometimes feels as if we're living in a totally different climate. Not only was this past July the hottest single month in the city's history, but Miami-Dade County also has surpassed yet another heat record already this year by a landslide.
According to University of Miami meteorologist Brian McNoldy, we've already lived through more days with low temperatures above 80 degrees than any other year in recorded city history. But that's an understatement: From 1938 to 2016, the yearly record was 45 days. (The city hit that mark in 2010.) The yearly average for nearly a century has been only 13 days with lows
This past October 13, Miami hit 70 days with low temperatures above 80 degrees. That's 25 more days than any year in recorded history, and there are still two and a half months of the year left.
To get a sense of how unprecedented that is, take a look at this absurd chart McNoldy put together:
His chart also transparently shows that the climate here is warming overall — there's a clear upward trend from 1938 until now. In July, McNoldy pointed out that the weather station at Miami International Airport suffers from a "heat island"
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"It’s pretty unusual," McNoldy told New Times in July. "The average low for this time of year is 78. Lows from one day, one week, one month to the next don’t change a lot in Miami. If the low goes from 78 to 83, that’s a huge difference."
Granted, it appears this year was an extreme historical outlier, and we likely can't expect we'll have 70-plus-degree, ultrahot days every year from now on. But the trends don't look great. As multiple studies have warned, Miami-Dade is set to see a huge spike in heat-related deaths thanks to global warming — anywhere from 200 to 1,400 people per year by 2090 depending upon how fast the population grows.
If this year is a hint of what the new Miami climate will feel like from here on, residents are in for a doozy. Walking a dog for 15 minutes at noon has often felt like crossing over an active lava field. And in addition to the increased temperatures on land, Biscayne Bay also warmed to a freakish degree this year.
Residents trapped without air conditioning boiled in the heat after Hurricane Irma knocked out power — and many elderly residents died. Miami might very well melt before it has a chance to sink into the ocean.