Climate in Coachella / The Forecast

This page is all about the changing climate in Coachella Valley (Greater Palm Springs), California, USA.

1. Coachella’s Past, Present & Future Climate

1.1 What is Coachella’s climate changing from?

1.2 What is Coachella’s climate changing to?

2. Climate Forecast for Coachella Valley

2.1 This is hot it will get in Coachella Valley.

2.2 This is how the climate is changing in Coachella.

1. Coachella Valley’s Past, Present & Future Climate

1.1 What is Coachella’s climate changing from?

Three attributes of Coachella Valley's climate that make it a Hot Desert climate. Graphic.

Coachella Valley’s climate is currently classified as “Hot Desert.” The Hot Desert climate has temps averaging up to 106˚or more during Summers that are often rainless. Winters are mild and sometimes drizzly. The Valley is in drought much of the time. The Coachella Valley (Greater Palm Springs) has had this Hot Desert climate for at least 2,500,000 (2.5 million) years.

Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_climate

1.2 What is Coachella’s climate changing to?

These are three attributes of Coachella Valley's coming Torrid climate. Graphic.

Coachella Valley’s emerging new climate is trending toward something that could be described as “Torrid,” which is French for “scorched with heat of the sun.” Torrid is a way to describe the essence of Coachella’s emerging climate. A Torrid climate will feature extremely hot, long, Summers and warm Winters. August and September temps will climb into the mid 120˚s. As the decades pass, Coachellans will experience warmer and warmer wintertime temps. Coachella’s climate will be hyper-arid and virtually rainless. Many consecutive years and even decades will pass without rainfall. The impacts will be difficult (see Section 2).

As new atmospheric patterns accelerate, especially during the 2040s and 2050s, scientists will be able to assign an official name to Coachella Valley’s emerging climate type. Scientists expect the characteristics of this new climate to be unlike any that currently exist on Earth.

Emerging climate characteristics from State Govt Report: Inland Desert Region. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment (2018)  Hall, Alex; Berg, Neil; Reich, Katharine. (University of California, Los Angeles)  Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-007

Dictionary: yourdictionary.com/torrid

Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_climate

2. Climate Forecast for Coachella Valley

The usual weather (the climate) of the Coachella Valley has been changing over the past several decades, and that change has started to accelerate. Here’s what people in Palm Springs, Indio, and other Coachella Valley cities can expect their climate to be like in the future.

2.1 How hot will it get in Coachella Valley?

graphic showing how hot it will get in the Coachella Valley because of the changing climate

Highest Temp Projected. 124˚ is the highest temp projected thru this century for Coachella Valley, starting in the 2040s. Occasional spikes up to 130˚ could happen in lower-lying areas like Thermal, a community of 2,800 people at Coachella Valley’s far east end.

Highest Temp Recorded. 121˚ Palm Springs Intl Airport had the highest temp in Coachella Valley’s history, in August 2019.

This shows Coachella's normal summertime high temperatures, which used to range between 91 and 108 degrees. Graphic.

Normal Temps for comparison. 108˚ was Palm Springs’ usual highest temp during August in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Scientists often use these and earlier decades as a baseline for measuring climate change over time.

Warmest Year on Record. In 2018, Coachella Valley had its warmest year on record, so far. 2016 was the Valley’s second warmest year.

Scientists: Cal-Adapt (Geospatial Innovation Facility, University of California, Berkeley).   Method: CalAdapt Data Visualization Tool for Projections of  Extreme Heat under High Emissions Scenario 8.5 (“Business as Usual” /  “Growing Pace,” where Emissions continue to rise strongly through 2050 and plateau around 2099).   Data: LOCA Downscaled Climate Projections (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Gridded Historical Observed Meteorological and Hydrological Data (University of Colorado, Boulder).  

Official Records: National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Data for Palm Springs Intl Airport, 19812010 averages.   

Note: All LocalClimate.org temperature readings in the U.S. are shown in Fahrenheit F˚ degrees. Also Note: Daily High Temps (aka Daytime High Temps) are the highest temp reached on a given day, usually occurring in the late afternoon. 

2.3 Coachella Valley’s climate is changing. Here’s how.

2.3.1 Coachella Valley’s climate is trending toward much longer, much hotter Summertimes.

This shows how Coachella Valley's summertime is getting much longer and much hotter as the decades go by. Extremely hot days are coming earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Graphic.

Longer, Hotter Summertimes: The spring-summer-fall “heat season” (days with temps over 105˚) in Coachella Valley used to be a month long in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Now, that time is gradually lengthening so that by the 2070s, 80s and 90s the heat season will linger on for up to several months. Atmospheric scientists are calling this expanding new heat season a “Super Summer.”

As time goes on, heatwaves will not be a fluke. Most Summers, people in Coachella Valley will experience waves of heatwaves. Uncomfortably hot days will arrive earlier in the Springtime and persist further and further into the Fall. Late-Summer / early Fall heatwaves merge together for four months of extreme heat.  ​

Scientists: Cal-Adapt (Geospatial Innovation Facility, University of California, Berkeley).   Method: CalAdapt Data Visualization Tool for Projections of  Extreme Heat under High Emissions Scenario 8.5 (“Business as Usual” /  “Growing Pace,” where Emissions continue to rise strongly through 2050 and plateau around 2099).   Data: LOCA Downscaled Climate Projections (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Gridded Historical Observed Meteorological and Hydrological Data (University of Colorado, Boulder).  

State Govt Report: Inland Deserts Summary Report. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment (2018)  Hall, Alex; Berg, Neil; Reich, Katharine. (University of California, Los Angeles)  Publication number: SUM-CCCA4-2018-007

2.3.2 Extremely hot days in Coachella are happening more and more often.

This shows Coachella Valley's high temperatures steadily rising as the decades go by. Graphic.

Extremely Hot Days: This graphic shows how often there will be days with a temp above 113˚ each year, on average, in Coachella Valley over the coming decades. By the 2050s, under the Growing Pace / Business-as Usual carbon emissions scenario, Palm Springs’ number of days with temps over 113˚ will more than quintuple (multiply times five) from those of the 1990s – from 5 days to 27 days – of oppressive roastiness. ​

Scientists: Cal-Adapt (Geospatial Innovation Facility, University of California, Berkeley).  Method: CalAdapt Data Visualization Tool for Projections of  Extreme Heat under High Emissions Scenario 8.5 (Growing Pace / Business as Usual scenario) where Emissions continue to rise strongly through 2050 and plateau around 2100), and Low Emissions Scenario 4.5 (Quickly Reduced / Carbon Mitigation scenario) where emissions peak around 2040, then decline.)  Data: LOCA Downscaled Climate Projections (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Gridded Historical Observed Meteorological and Hydrological Data (University of Colorado, Boulder).