2019 was Atlanta’s warmest on record.
Every month except for November was warmer than average this year, but what really pushed 2019 over the edge, in terms of temperature, was a late summer heatwave, said Bill Murphey, state climatologist for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
“The main culprit was September,” he said. “September, if you just look at Atlanta, it averaged about nine degrees above normal for the whole month.”
2019 unseats 2016 as Atlanta’s hottest year since record keeping began in the late 1870s. On average, nighttime lows in 2019 were warmer than any other time on record, too.
Human-caused climate change and some natural weather events are contributing to the trend, which is also compounded by the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon where cities, with all their roads and concrete, are just generally warmer than less developed places, Murphey said. Macon also experienced its hottest year, and Murphey said the state as a whole is on track for 2019 to be its warmest year.
Seven of Atlanta’s 10 warmest years were in the past decade, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The period of record goes back to 1879.