2016 was a mild year in New Jersey, ranking as the third warmest since meteorologists started keeping records in 1895, the state climatologist said.
New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. David A. Robinson of Rutgers University in a release said the average temperature — the mean of the daily highs and lows — throughout the state was 55 degrees. That’s tied with 2006 and behind 1998 and 2012, the warmest year on record.
The state university operates the NJ Weather & Climate Network, a collection of weather reporting stations throughout the Garden State. The data from those stations is then used by Robinson’s office to generate climate analyses.
The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly reported that Atlantic City International Airport, its official reporting station at the Jersey Shore, logged its seventh warmest year on record with an average temperature of 56.2 degrees. The warmest year was 2011 (57.2 degrees).
2016 also featured record breaking high temperatures in March and October. The two day period beginning March 9 featured temperatures soaring into the the lower 80s in the central and southern portions of the state. Then during the fall, October 19 was one of the warmest late season days on record.
Robinson said the early season warmth led to a “green up” in March. During the fall, the late season mild conditions hindered leaf fall from October into November, he added.
On the precipitation front, that statewide annual precipitation of 39.92″ as of Dec. 29 was 6.44″ below normal, with below normal amounts for a 9 of the 12 months.
Robinson cites human influence for causing the increased warmth in the state.
“There is no question that New Jersey has gotten warmer over the past several decades,” he told NJ.com. “The underlying cause for the warming is human modification of the climate system, namely greenhouse warming. Certainly there are year-to-year fluctuations of a natural kind, but these are taking place on a continually elevating foundation of higher temperatures brought on by humankind.”
Globally, 2016 will likely top 2015 as the warmest year on record.
You can see the top 10 weather and climate events from Robinson here.