Becoming Arizona Part One: This Arid Life

By Kat Kerlin

This article is the first in a series that will discuss Sacramento’s hotter future, and what we can do now to be ready for it.

In 2016, I was fortunate enough to accompany a UC Davis class of students 100 miles down the Colorado River, cutting through the Grand Canyon. Along the way, I saw fossil evidence of sea snails and marine creatures — in-my-face evidence that this desert land around me was once a sprawling ocean. Rock-solid proof that the world can, does and will change. But the changes taking place in the Grand Canyon occurred over many millions of years. Today’s changes are happening much more quickly, spurred along by fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

And they’re happening where we live.

By century’s end, Sacramento, California, is expected to feel much like Tucson or even Phoenix, Arizona, according to the state’s 2018 Climate Assessment for the Sacramento Valley. Daily temperatures are projected to rise 10 F in the valley by 2100, and the number of days topping 104 F are on track to increase from four days a year to 40.

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