As a result of its location in the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot, dry climate and is pretty much sunny all year round. In fact, Phoenix receives the most sunshine of any major city in the world. Despite being dubbed the ‘Valley of the Sun’, Phoenix actually has four seasons, even though the transition between them is rather subtle. Most importantly, though, new arrivals moving to Phoenix must prepare for a climate of extremely hot and humid summers and mild winters.

In the summer, temperatures can reach up to 110°F (43°C), with averages hovering around 100°F (38°C). Unlike most desert locations, which experience drastic temperature fluctuations between day and night, evening temperatures do not drop that noticeably in Phoenix because of the urban heat island effect.

Although rainfall is minimal throughout the year, the North American monsoon brings increased humidity levels during the summer months – this increase in humidity can also contribute to flash floods, destructive winds and dust storms.

Phoenix is in Maricopa County, which is reported to have one of the highest ozone pollution levels in the US. Ozone is formed in sunny climates, and Phoenix is particularly susceptible to this problem. As the city grows and car usage becomes more prevalent, vehicle emissions further contribute to increased pollution levels. Newcomers are warned that people with respiratory conditions may struggle with the poor air quality in the city.

Although the surrounding mountain tops may receive a dusting of snow, winters in Phoenix are largely pleasant, with temperatures averaging 54°F (12°C). Newcomers will come to relish the winter months, as they not only bring cooler weather but also clearer air and bright blue skies.


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