2012! What a year! We've flipped the calendar on the year and looking forward to a new, wonderful year! What will you remember from 2012? Well, weather wise, 2012 was certainly one to remember...it was the WARMEST year on record! End of story.
2012's annual average temperature turned out to be the warmest year on record according to the stats from the Burlington National Weather Service office. Weather records for this particular location date back to 1884.
The average annual temperature (this includes all observed high and low temperatures averaged out...) turned out to be 50°. For perspective, a 50° yearly mean temp is 4° above the 1981-2010 average of 46°. For more perspective, this temperature breaks the old warmest record by a whopping 1.6°! This is quite intense. Why? The other standing records were only separated by tenths of a degree, so it's of significant note 1) to set a new record and 2) to shatter the old record by 1.6°!
Here are the top 5 warmest annual mean temperature records for the Burlington area...
1) 50.0° (2012)
2) 48.4° (1998)
3) 48.2° (2006)
4) 48.1° (2010)
5) 48.1° (1898)
(Who can forget that 80 degree heat in March of 2012?! For Burlington, this was one contributor to the year's hot readings. In March, an unbelievable heat streak surged into the northeastern US. In Burlington, there were 3 afternoons where the temperature reached 80 degrees or more! The extreme heat also marked the earliest 80°+ reading on March 20th)
So, of course, this calls to question: Is it global warming? The answer is, we really can't attribute 1 year of warm weather in Burlington to the long term global trend. If we were to see 2013 with abnormally warm weather again, then maybe some ears would perk more. Seeing abnormal warmth for the next 10 years? Okay, I think we've got everyone's attention. Global warming factors in much longer periods of time than just 1 year so it isn't accurate to call one hot year "global warming".