We are a few weeks into 2023 which means it’s time to look back at 2022 weather for Syracuse. What really stands out to me was the temperature. No, there weren’t many daily record highs but 9 out of the 12 months featured above normal temperatures.

It was the 14th warmest year on record but  the coolest in three years. This is only possible since 2021 was the second warmest and 2020 was the 4th warmest on record. 

What is striking to me, however, is how last year continues a trend in Syracuse temperatures that has been ongoing the last 20 to 30 years.  

Since this past year was the 14th warmest year I decided to look at the top 15 warmest years on record and how that list has changed over time.

If the discussion of our climate and the change to more warmth comes up, people will tell me “Well, it was also hot in the 1930s.”

True, there were warm years in the 1930s and if you look at the warmest years for Syracuse from 1902 (when records were first recorded in the city) until 1989 that decade of the ’30s certainly stands out.  Six of the years in the 1930s make that list of Top 15 warmest years. That is pretty impressive for about the first 90 years of Syracuse records. 

However, from 1990 things have changed dramatically.

Looking at the current Top 15 warmest years, only one year from the 1930s remains on the list (1931).  The other five have been pushed off as warmer and warmer years have come along.

Five new years on the list have come since 2010 and 11 out of the 15 years (73%) have come since 1990! Yes, we can still get some cold stretches but that is more on the scale of days, weeks or even a month. In fact, in 2022 January was the coldest month we had seen since February 2015.

However, it is the decades-long trend of yearly temperatures that is more telling of Syracuse’s changing climate.

Of course, this is just a snapshot of Syracuse but these trends seem to follow in other Upstate New York cities. Buffalo has seen 11 years since 1989 make the Top 15 warmest list while Rochester nine and Albany seven years respectively.