2012 likely to break longstanding record as warmest year since 1938

Monday, December 10, 2012 | 4:26 p.m. CST; updated 5:09 p.m. CST, Monday, December 10, 2012

COLUMBIA — Despite an early week cold snap, Columbia is still on track to have the warmest year on record according to the National Weather Service.

With high temperatures in the spring and summer, Columbia has had a higher-than-normal average temperature in 2012. Barring extreme cold weather conditions, 2012 will be the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1890.

“It would take temperatures of nearly 20 F to 30 F below average for this time of year for the record to not be broken,” Jayson Gossblin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service said.

The average temperature for the year has hovered around 61.1 F, and while this is only .9 F above the last record average of 60.2 F — set in 1938 — that variance is significant.

“While .9 F doesn’t sound like a lot, it is a huge deficit when you consider that these measurements are spread over the course of a whole year,” Gossblin said.

Spring 2012 was the warmest on record and summer was the sixth warmest on record. March broke weather records as well: it was the warmest since 1946, with temperatures averaging 59.7 F throughout the month.

Columbia’s high-average temperature is reflective of a nationwide trend.

“The U.S. has had the warmest year on record,” Gossblin said. “A lot of cities and states are going to see records broken or nearly broken.”

This week’s forecast calls for temperatures to reach the mid- to high-50s, peaking at 58 F on Friday.

Supervising editor is Karen Miller.

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