Climate, News

2020 — Like 2019, 2017 and 2016 — Was One Of Ga.’s Warmest Years On Record

2020 was Georgia's sixth warmest year on record. It also holds the spot for the tenth wettest year.
2020 was Georgia's sixth warmest year on record. It also holds the spot for the tenth wettest year.
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Last year was one of Georgia’s warmest and wettest years on record.

2019 still holds the top spot as Georgia’s warmest since record-keeping began in the late-1800s, and most recent years are in the top-10. 2020 is Georgia’s fourth warmest year on record. But there are ties in the second and third place positions, making it the state’s sixth warmest year.

That’s partially because, on average, the nights aren’t cooling off as much, said Bill Murphey, the state climatologist at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

“Those nighttime lows have really been creeping up over the past several years,” he said.

Some of that is attributable to the urban heat island effect, he said. But he added that climate change is causing it statewide.

2020 was also unusually wet for Georgia. Murphey said it was Georgia’s tenth wettest year on record, thanks in part to La Niña and the many tropical storms.

Four tropical storms crossed into Georgia in 2020 Faith, Sally, Zeta and Eta. But Murphey said those weren’t the only ones to affect the state.

“Delta didn’t cross the state, but we had a pretty big tornado outbreak from that, for example,” he said. “We had seven tornadoes reported.”

Overall, there were 30 tropical storms in the North Atlantic last year, the most ever recorded. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2020 was the country’s fifth warmest on record.