Ex­perts say 2017 was state’s warm­est year

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE -

AT­LANTA — A new re­port shows that 2017 was the warm­est year on record for Ge­or­gia.

The an­nual av­er­age statewide tem­per­a­ture for 2017 was tied with 2016 for the warm­est on record with 65.8 de­grees as the av­er­age mean tem­per­a­ture, Ge­or­gia state cli­ma­tol­o­gist Bill Mur­phey said.

At­lanta broke records through­out the en­tire year, as it had the third warm­est win­ter and spring on record, The At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion re­ported. For the city, 2016 and 2012 were the No.1 and No. 2 warm­est years, re­spec­tively.

There were many fac­tors that could have con­trib­uted to Ge­or­gia’s warm year, in­clud­ing very warm overnight low tem­per­a­tures, the clouds which af­fect in­frared ra­di­a­tion cool­ing, and evap­o­ra­tion, Mur­phey said. A La Niña pe­riod oc­curred from about Apr. 2016 un­til about June 2017, he also noted.

El Niño and La Niña are the pe­ri­odic warm­ing and cool­ing pe­ri­ods of the equa­to­rial east­ern and cen­tral Pa­cific Ocean. It can shift weath- er pat­terns over a pe­riod of months, and the last La Niña brought on warm and dry con­di­tions for Ge­or­gia.

“Re­call how dry it was in Ge­or­gia, es­pe­cially dur­ing the fall and win­ter La Niña event of 2016, with all the north Ge­or­gia wild­fire ac­tiv­ity,” he said. “In fact an­nual av­er­age tem­per­a­tures for 2016 for At­lanta were the warm­est on record... The an­nual av­er­age statewide tem­per­a­ture for 2017 was tied with 2016 for the warm­est on record.”

The El Niño phase that fol­lowed the La Niña event of 2016, brought on wet­ter-than-av­er­age con­di­tions in 2017, he said. At­lanta had its first-ever trop­i­cal storm warn­ing with Hur­ri­cane Irma, and Ge­or­gia had 113 tor­na­does. Plus, the Ber­muda High pres­sure sys­tem, which is re­spon­si­ble for pro­longed heat waves in the East­ern part of the coun­try, also helped with the warmer than nor­mal tem­per­a­tures in 2017.

Na­tion­ally, the ma­jor­ity of the United States had “much above av­er­age” tem­per­a­tures for 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Cen­ters for En­vi­ron­men­tal In­for­ma­tion.

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