Today was hot.

Maybe not Ted Stricker hot, but still hot enough that walking around outside qualified as a workout.  In Central Park today, the National Weather Service said it reached 73 degrees.

Let’s put that in context: normally it’s 51 degrees on March 20th in New York.  Fittingly, last year, it was 51 degrees on this date.  Today wasn’t an all time record — that belongs to 1945’s 83 degrees — but safe to say this has been an unusually warm winter in the city, as well as in many other parts of the country.

I was curious what stats are available to help us quantify how mild the season has been, so I headed over to the National Weather Service’s site, which, if you can get past the 1995 look n’ feel, is actually pretty useful (they have NY data back to 1869).

Here’s what I found:

  1. This winter has been the second warmest on record — interestingly, 4 of the top 5 have occured in the last twenty years.
Average Temperature for Dec-Feb (Warmest Rankings)
Temperature Season
41.5 2001-2002
40.5 2011-2012
40.1 1931-1932
39.6 1997-1998
39.2 1990-1991
Normal: 35.1

2.  Over the past 150 years, the average monthly temperature for March has been 40.3 degrees — interestingly, since 2000, that average is 7% higher at 43.1 degrees.

So today’s temperature of 73 degrees is over 80% higher than the usual monthly average in Central Park.

Feels great in the short term.  But if the warming trend is only in one direction, it does make you wonder what are the implications for the long term.