Miami Is Inching Toward Another Record-Hot Year

Dec 3, 2019
Originally published on December 3, 2019 2:28 pm

Miami is hot. But not in a good way.

Steamy heat is putting the glammy city on track to come very close to breaking the all-time record for high temperatures set two years ago.

With only a month to go in the year, the average temperature was just two-tenths of a degree shy of the 2017 average of 79.8 degrees. That's after smashing the record for the number of days with high temps above 92 degrees and daily  low temperatures above 75 degrees, said University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researcher Brian McNoldy. The year already beat 2015 for second hottest.

"We're kind of right in the middle of those two," he said.

The warm summer and fall made the year a strong contender for landing in the top five. A sweltering October moved it into second. 

"There have been years where it was mostly the work of the warm, low temperatures and the highs were somewhat normal," he said. "But this year we're doing pretty well, if you want to call it that, with the highs and the lows."

The rising temperatures are in keeping with projections for a warmer planet heated up by greenhouse gases. Globally, temperatures have not dropped below the 20th century average since 1976, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Nine out of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2005. And models predict that by 2020, the global averages will be 0.9 degrees warmer than averages between 1986 and 2005.

"A lot of locations are seeing their lows be the main driver of this, meaning that the highs are not as exceptionaly warm. It's the overnight lows that are keeping temperatures up," McNoldy said.

This week's cold front could help break the trend. Temperatures in South Florida are expected to dip into the 40s and 50s Monday night, with areas west of Lake Okeechobee dropping to the upper 30s, according to the National Weather Service's Miami office. Tuesday should heat up slightly, to the 60s, with cooler temperatures in the 40s and 50s returning overnight.

Ahead of the front,Virginia Key set a new record high for the day at 81.7 degrees, six-tenths of degree above the old record, McNoldy said.

South Florida has a 40 to 50 percent chance of seeing above normal temperatures until the end of the year, which could put it closer to the record, according toe NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

"It's a chance," McNoldy said, "but it would really need to be a pretty warm month to move into first place."

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