Louisiana's climate has warmed by 2.43° F since 1970

Written by:
August 2, 2021
Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

Louisiana's climate has warmed by 2.43° F since 1970

Just a degree or two degrees hotter doesn’t seem like a lot. You would barely notice the change on a sunny afternoon, or in the warmth of a cup of coffee. But over time, it’s enough to change our environment from top to bottom.

Every state is growing warmer, with higher temperatures fueled by everything from powerful ocean currents and giant coal-fired power plants to commuters, cows, and leaky old buildings.

To find out which states have warmed the fastest since 1970, Stacker consulted Climate Central's 2020 Earth Day report. In this report, we looked at the Applied Climate Information System’s time-series data from major metropolitan areas in each state. Read that full story here.

Louisiana by the numbers

- Temperature change 1970–2019: 2.43° F
- Fastest-warming metro areas:
--- Lake Charles: 2.5° F
--- Shreveport: 2.9° F
--- New Orleans: 3.5° F

Louisiana’s oil refiners and natural gas producers are heavy users of energy, contributing about half of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Warming temperatures also are tied to its Mississippi River delta and its coast along the Gulf of Mexico, where the water temperature has been rising for years.

The leading cause of temperature increases today is human-derived greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide and methane, which trap heat in our atmosphere. The more gases we emit by burning fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal, and in our farming practices, the more heat is trapped. Plants and trees mitigate the situation somewhat by absorbing carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide, too, but that process makes it more acidic.

As temperatures rise, winters grow shorter. The ice on the Great Lakes forms later and disappears earlier. Colorado’s snowpack is melting as much as 30 days sooner than it was just a generation ago. With less snow in the New Mexico and Colorado mountains to feed the Rio Grande, the river is drying up.

Meanwhile, springs are wetter, with flooding more common (and more destructive), and summers are drier with longer stifling heat waves that can be debilitating—and deadly—for those who cannot afford the price of staying cool. Wildfires are whipped across mountain forests by overheated winds, and barges run aground in the low waters of the Mississippi River.

Evaporation threatens supplies of water for drinking and irrigation, while algal blooms choke inland lakes. In the heartland, crop yields are declining. Along the coasts, land is getting too salty for farming, as intruding saltwater seeps into freshwater aquifers and groundwater. Dairy and beef cattle stop eating, foliage trees grow dull, and sugar maple trees die.

Spectacular beaches are also disappearing. Rising seas threaten the existence of scenic barrier islands, and ocean levels around the world could rise more than four feet by 2100 if aggressive mitigation efforts aren’t undertaken, according to a study published on May 8, 2020, in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science.

Many states are taking actions to burn less coal, use less electricity, tighten fuel standards, encourage people to drive less, create greener cities, and construct more efficient buildings to change our consumption, our behaviors, our habits, and our attitudes about warming temperatures. Here are the states warming the fastest and slowest:

Fastest-warming states
#1. Nevada (+6.45° F)
#2. Vermont (+3.90° F)
#3. New Mexico (+3.60° F)

Slowest-warming states
#1 (tie). Maryland (+1.37° F)
#1 (tie). Mississippi (+1.37° F)
#1 (tie). South Dakota (+1.37° F)

Explore by Metro

Acadia Parish

Explore

Alexandria

Explore

Allen Parish

Explore

Ascension Parish

Explore

Assumption Parish

Explore

Avoyelles Parish

Explore

Baton Rouge

Explore

Beauregard Parish

Explore

Bienville Parish

Explore

Bossier Parish

Explore

Caddo Parish

Explore

Calcasieu Parish

Explore

Caldwell Parish

Explore

Cameron Parish

Explore

Catahoula Parish

Explore

Claiborne Parish

Explore

Concordia Parish

Explore

De Soto Parish

Explore

East Baton Rouge Parish

Explore

East Carroll Parish

Explore

East Feliciana Parish

Explore

Evangeline Parish

Explore

Franklin Parish

Explore

Grant Parish

Explore

Hammond

Explore

Houma

Explore

Iberia Parish

Explore

Iberville Parish

Explore

Jackson Parish

Explore

Jefferson Davis Parish

Explore

Jefferson Parish

Explore

LaSalle Parish

Explore

Lafayette

Explore

Lafayette Parish

Explore

Lafourche Parish

Explore

Lake Charles

Explore

Lincoln Parish

Explore

Livingston Parish

Explore

Madison Parish

Explore

Monroe

Explore

Morehouse Parish

Explore

Natchitoches Parish

Explore

New Orleans

Explore

Ouachita Parish

Explore

Plaquemines Parish

Explore

Pointe Coupee Parish

Explore

Rapides Parish

Explore

Red River Parish

Explore

Richland Parish

Explore

Sabine Parish

Explore

Shreveport

Explore

St. Bernard Parish

Explore

St. Charles Parish

Explore

St. Helena Parish

Explore

St. James Parish

Explore

St. John the Baptist Parish

Explore

St. Landry Parish

Explore

St. Martin Parish

Explore

St. Mary Parish

Explore

St. Tammany Parish

Explore

Tangipahoa Parish

Explore

Tensas Parish

Explore

Terrebonne Parish

Explore

Union Parish

Explore

Vermilion Parish

Explore

Vernon Parish

Explore

Washington Parish

Explore

Webster Parish

Explore

West Baton Rouge Parish

Explore

West Carroll Parish

Explore

West Feliciana Parish

Explore

Winn Parish

Explore

Trending Now