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Climate change’s ‘fingerprints’ could bring another record-setting warm year to Florida

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An introduction to the causes of modern-day climate change, signs that the climate is already changing, and how climate change affects the environment and human well-being.

Florida is one of just eight states that reached record-warm temperatures for the first 11 months of 2017, according to a National Centers for Environmental Information report.

Year-to-date, the average temperature in Florida was 73.7 degrees, making it the warmest year since 2015. It’s a 2.5-degree departure from the 20th century average.

A Florida Climate Center official notes the state is on track to have its warmest year on record.

A tweet from David Zierden, a climatologist with the Florida Climate Center, says it could beat the heat from 2015 — currently the warmest year on record — and 2016, the second-warmest year during which the state averaged 73.1 degrees.

It’s a continuation of a trend they have seen over the last several years.

“It’s been almost three years of nothing but above normal temperatures for the most part,” Zierden told the Bradenton Herald in a phone inteview Monday.

He noted that the last 21 consecutive months have all been warmer than what is considered normal.

Tampa is one of the weather stations showing a record warm ranking, according to a second tweet from Zierden.

According to the Florida Climate Center, the average temperature in Tampa during November was 72.1 degrees, three degrees warmer than normal.

Most of the state exhibited a similar, warmer-than-normal trend.

“All of that is consistent with what other parts of the world have seen and what we expect with climate change, and so I would certainly think climate change has its fingerprints on the recent trend of above-normal temperatures,” Zierden said.

In Manatee County, there were nine record-setting high temperatures through November, according to NCEI daily weather records. Six days through November tied for record- high temperatures.

However, Zierden cautioned, just because the average temperatures have been warmer doesn’t mean Florida won’t see cold snaps this winter.

Across the country, it’s been an above-average year for temperatures, the report from the National Centers for Environmental Information shows.

The year-to-date U.S. average temperature, 56.4 degrees, was the third warmest on record. That’s 2.61 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the NCEI.

The warmest year on record for the U.S. was 2012, when the average temperature through November was 57.04 degrees, NCEI archives show.

Spectrum Bay News 9 Meteorologist Josh Linker said average temperatures will likely remain above average at least through Christmas, but just by a couple of degrees each day. Temperatures, however, return to average for the last few days of the year.

“The funny thing about this time of year is there’s really not a normal temperature, that’s why we say average,” Linker said. “In the summer, we have normal weather, where it’s 92 degrees every day.”

Linker said December is currently averaging less than 1 degree above normal, due in part to a recent week of cooler weather.

Sara Nealeigh: 941-745-7081, @saranealeigh

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