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Denver averages far more 100-degree days now than it did a century ago

The reason? It's simple. A warming climate means 100-degree days are more than three times as likely as they were a century ago.

DENVER — Thursday marked yet another Denver day with near-100 degree temperatures, and it's part of a recent spike in triple-digit readings in the city.

In the past 10 years, Denver has hit 100 degrees or higher a total of 33 times, an average of slightly over three 100 degree days per year. That includes three 100 degree days already so far in 2022.

Based on long-term climate averages over the past 150 years, however, Denver averages less than one 100 degree day per year (103 instances over 150 years of official records). 

There's little doubt that Denver temperatures have spiked during the summertime in particular, and that trend is leading to more and more 100 degree days on average. 

Part of that has to do with the moving of Denver's official climate station from the old Stapleton Airport to the slightly warmer (at times) Denver International Airport (DIA) weather observation site. Since the DIA weather observation site opened 27 years ago, it has recorded 59 100-degree days, and the Central Park site is at 51 100-degree days.

There's a difference, but the difference is minimal. It simply doesn't account for the tripling of 100 degree temperatures in recent years.

Credit: KUSA

What's the main reason for all these 100 degree days lately in Denver? Climate change. Front Range summers are trending warmer and drier, making 100 degree heat more common.

Summertime (June through August) temperatures are 1.3 degrees warmer in Denver over the past 30 years compared with the 150-year average, a remarkable jump in such a short period of time.

Credit: KUSA

A warming climate makes it likely that 100 degree days in Denver will continue to increase over the foreseeable future.

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