No one can deny this has been a brutal winter in New York City. With persistent cold conditions over the past few months, some people may be questioning the validity of global warming. It is important to remember, however, that it was just one season. To see the big picture of climate change, we need to look at long-term trends.
The graph below shows the actual annual temperatures recorded in Central Park by the National Weather Service from 1869 through 2013. While there has been variability and some extremes – both hot and cold – over the years, the overall trend is clearly warming.
To date, NYC’s coldest year was 1888 with an annual average temperature of 49.3°F. The city’s warmest year was 2012 with an average temperature of 57.3°F. Our normal annual temperature, based on the current 30-year average, is 54.8°F.