Environment

2019 warmest on record in North Carolina (and so far, 2020 is no slouch)

The average temperature in 2019 not only set a record as the warmest in North Carolina in more than 120 years years, but it blew that benchmark out of the water.

The statewide average temperature was 61.22 degrees, a full 2.7 degrees warmer than the average measured from 1901 to 2000, according to a blog post by state climatologist Kathie Dello and applied climatologist Corey Davis.

Last year North Carolina tied or broke 881 daily maximum temperature records, which was almost four times the number of broken or tied daily minimum records, the scientists reported.

May and September were among the top five warmest months, as was October. Remember October? Remember the sun searing your scalp at high noon? The Raleigh-Durham International Airport hit 100 degrees on Oct. 3, the first time the reporting station ever experienced its yearly high during that month, according to the National Weather Service..

So if it seems hotter to you, it’s not your imagination. In the past 30 years, North Carolina has recorded each of its five warmest years on record — 2019, 1990, 2017, 2016 and 1998 – along with 10 of its 30 warmest years.

None of those years were among North Carolina’s 30 coolest years on record.

The trees are shedding their blossoms in Nash Square in downtown Raleigh, Jan. 14, 2020. (Photo: Lisa Sorg)

2020 has started with 14 consecutive days of above-average temperatures/ These are occurring  not only during the day, but at night as well. The low on Jan. 13 at RDU was 64. The average: 31 degrees.

Weather Underground, which provides historical data from the National Weather Service, shows that the daily average temperature –add the high and the low and divide by 2 — has been off the charts. Just yesterday, the daily average was 64.64 degrees. The historical “normal”: 41.

Dello and Davis delivered more bad news about our changing climate: In North Carolina, the climate is projected to warm anywhere from 4 to 10 degrees by the end of the century.

“Benchmarks like this record don’t just make for coffee-shop small talk; they’re the evidence in the case pointing to this global phenomenon hitting us here in our backyard. These numbers and records have actual consequences and translate into impacts – to our people and our livelihoods,” they wrote.

3 Comments


  1. JimK

    January 16, 2020 at 12:30 am

    Of course, if we use the most accurate data we have, the USCRN kept by the USA government, there has been NO WARMING over its entire record which was started in 2005. It is only by using less reliable, constantly adjusted data, do we get record warming.

    One should also note that Minoan, Roman and Medieval times were all warmer than now WITHOUT man’s CO2.
    In view of this one must ask – is there anything unusual about today’s climate?

  2. JimK

    January 16, 2020 at 4:16 am

    The warmest in 120 years means little, since the climate about 1000 years ago, the Medieval climate optimum, was warmer than now as was the Roman warm period about 1000 years earlier and the Minoan Warm period about 1000 years before that, all of which were due to natural causes because man had not then started to burn fossil fuels.

    Or are we to believe that whatever cause those three earlier warm periods (and probably more before that) suddenly quit causing warm periods just in time for man’s CO2 to take over!

  3. Steve Harrison

    January 16, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Honestly, if I hear one more person say, “I’m loving this weather!” I might just spontaneously combust. It’s like complimenting somebody on their cancer weight-loss.

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