Earth Day Trends

Tendencias del Día de la Tierra

Apr 14, 2021

Happy Earth Day! Since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, yearly temperatures have warmed significantly across the U.S. Explore the fastest-warming cities in our handy Earth Day toolkit.

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KEY CONCEPTS

  • The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, and since then, the average U.S. temperature has warmed by 2.4°F.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the 246 cities analyzed have warmed more then 2°F, and 27% have warmed more than 3°F
  • In a hurry this Earth Day? Climate Central has you covered with a handy Earth Day toolkit.

Earth Day is the largest civic observance in the world, with more than 1 billion people and 190+ countries participating in environmental activities every year. The first Earth Day was established in 1970 to bring awareness to the health of our environment and planet. In recent years, especially in 2021, the focus is on climate change as global temperatures continue to rise. 

WARMING SINCE THE FIRST EARTH DAY

In advance of Earth Day next week, Climate Central compiled annual temperature data from 246 locations across the U.S. since 1970—the year of the first Earth Day. On average, the U.S. warmed by 2.4°F, and almost every location (98%) reported a rise in yearly temperature. Of those places that increased, 65% warmed more than 2°F and 27% above 3°F. The majority of the top 10 greatest increases occurred in the Southwest:

Top 10 fastest-warming locations since the first Earth Day

Rank Location Yearly Temperature Change (1970-2020)
1 Reno, Nevada 7.6°F
2 Las Vegas, Nevada 5.8°F
3 El Paso, Texas 5.1°F
4 Tucson, Arizona 4.5°F
5 Chattanooga, Tennessee 4.5°F
6 Phoenix, Arizona 4.3°F
7 Erie, Pennsylvania 4.3°F
8 Burlington, Vermont 4.3°F
9 McAllen, Texas 4.2°F
10 Las Cruces, New Mexico 4.1°F

 

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EARTH DAY TOOLKIT

Need some quick content ideas and resources for Earth Day? Look no further than this handpicked selection from our Climate Matters media library

See more below: 

POTENTIAL LOCAL STORY ANGLES

How are people and organizations celebrating Earth Day in your area?
On the official Earth Day website, use the “Find An Earth Day Event '' search engine to explore how people and organizations around the world are celebrating Earth Day. You can narrow down the search by event type, location, and online vs in-person. Other resources include their own Earth Day Toolkit and a list of 51 actions you can take now to celebrate Earth Day. 

METHODOLOGY

Average annual temperature from the Applied Climate Information System and U.S. temperature data is from the National Centers for Environmental Information. Trends are based on a mathematical linear trend line, beginning in 1970 for consistency between all 247 stations. However, for data summaries based on linear trends, only 246 stations are included due to large data gaps in Wheeling, W. Va.