Phoenix Sees High Temps, Lower-Than-Average Rainfall In 2015

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 2:39pm
Updated: Friday, January 1, 2016 - 11:04pm

The average temperature this year was warmer than usual, which could be due, in part, to Phoenix’s rising population.

The heat island effect is being felt across the Valley, as the top 10 warmest years on record have almost all been within the past decade. As more development goes up, the more heat is absorbed by things like paved roads and buildings.

Meteorologist Chris Kuhlman said at an average of 76.8 degrees, this year ranks in the top five warmest years in Phoenix.

“All in all it was definitely a warm year, and the last several years have been warm years," he said. "2014 was the warmest on record at 77.3 degrees, or half a degree warmer than this year.”

Kuhlman said the recent spike in temperatures comes from higher low temperatures. That's because at night developed areas release heat absorbed during the day. The record high this year was on Aug.14 at 117 degrees. The record low was in January at 31 degrees.

This year’s total rainfall turned out to be a little lower than average, even with the predicted El Nino effect. Phoenix Sky Harbor recorded 7.15 inches of rain this year, which Kuhlman said is about an inch lower than normal.

“We had a drier first part of the year and then near-normal throughout the rest of the year, which led to just below normal of 7.15.”

But, there were a lot of days with recorded rainfall this year, with the summer months of June, July and August measuring above-average precipitation.

Kuhlman said while it’s a bit early to predict, he expected more rain for 2016 because of the strong El Nino.

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