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2021 one of the warmest on record in Tallahassee

It was also one of the driest on record, but not so much for surrounding locations
The sun shined in St. Marks, Fla. on April 27, 2021.
The sun shined in St. Marks, Fla. on April 27, 2021.(Charles Roop / WCTV Pinpoint Weather)
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 6:23 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The trend of warmer temperatures in Tallahassee, Fla. for the last few decades continued in 2021, according to climate data.

The annual average temperature at Tallahassee International Airport, where the official reporting station is located, was ranked the 14th warmest since 1940 according to data from the NOAA Regional Climate Centers. The average temperature for the year was 68.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest was in 2015 at 71.7 degrees.

The year 2021 was Tallahassee's 14th warmest year since 1940 with respect to the average annual...
The year 2021 was Tallahassee's 14th warmest year since 1940 with respect to the average annual temperature, according to data pulled from NOAA. The upward trend of temperatures continued for much of the last several years.(Charles Roop / WCTV Pinpoint Weather)

The average annual temperature has not dropped below 68 degrees since 2011, according to the climate data.

Warmer low temperatures appeared to be the contributor to the warmer average temperatures based on the data. The average annual low for 2021 was 58.1, ranked the 15th since the 1940s, and was one of the warmest in recent years. The average high temperature wasn’t as bad as previous years, and was ranked 27th at 79.8 degrees. The average high was slightly cooler than recent years and was the first below 80 degrees since 2011.

Like Tallahassee, temperatures across most of the globe continued to increase. Through November 2021, the global temperature for the year was around 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average according to data from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental information. Scientists continue to cite human’s releasing carbon into the atmosphere as the culprit of the warming in recent decades.

“Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only factors that can account for the observed warming over the last century; there are no credible alternative human or natural explanations supported by the observational evidence,” according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment released in 2018. “Without human activities, the influence of natural factors alone would actually have had a slight cooling effect on global climate over the last 50 years.”

The global land and ocean temperature departure from the 20th century average. The annual...
The global land and ocean temperature departure from the 20th century average. The annual departure from 2021 only runs through November as of when this data were obtained on Jan. 5, 2022.(NOAA National Centers for Environmental information)

Total rainfall was ranked the 14th lowest at 48.41 inches at Tallahassee International Airport. The overall trend since 1940 has been a downward one, according to the climatic data.

Data from Tallahassee’s official reporting station doesn’t reflect everyone’s observed weather in the Big Bend and South Georgia - especially in a location that experiences the “randomness” of summertime showers and thunderstorms. Some of Tallahassee’s rainfall was nearly 6 to 16 inches below the 1981-2010 average according to radar-derived data from NOAA. Many locations in the viewing area observed rainfall surpluses between 12 to 20 inches above the 30-year average. Some of the locations that received higher-than-normal rainfall totals include Franklin County and the Southeast Big Bend - including Steinhatchee. Some of the excess rainfall could be tied to tropical systems that went through the Big Bend in the summer months, including Tropical Storm Elsa and Tropical Storm Fred.

Radar-derived rainfall departures from the 30-year normal, in inches, for 2021.
Radar-derived rainfall departures from the 30-year normal, in inches, for 2021.(NWS/NOAA)

With a La Niña pattern forecast to stick around through the rest of the 2021-22 winter, the Climate Prediction Center has kept odds of a warmer- and drier-than-normal three-month period in place for the Big Bend and South Georgia. It’s worth reminding that it doesn’t mean the area will not observe any rainfall or cold temperatures during January, February and March, but that the average for that period may be warmer and drier.

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