SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – With less than two months to go, 2023 is shaping up to be one of the top ten warmest in history for Syracuse.

Consistent warmth helping us set the pace

Through the end of this October, Syracuse was on pace to be the third warmest year in recorded history. Only 2012 and 2021 were warmer through the first ten months than this year.

Syracuse weather records go back to 1902.

While there are few record highs to show for 2023 (only six so far) eight of our ten months have been above normal and half of those months ran five degrees or more above normal!

When we did have cooler than normal months, they have not been cool by all that much. May and August averaged only about half a degree below normal.

What is behind this year’s warmth?

There are likely a couple of things conspiring to give us this very warm year.

First, the short-term phenomenon called El Nino is in play.  That is the warmer than normal waters in the equatorial Pacific.  This changes jet stream patterns across the globe and is usually accompanied by a release of heat from the ocean which in turns warms the atmosphere. Two of the larger spikes in global temperatures compared to surrounding years occurred in 2016 and 1998 at the end of very strong El Nino events in the Pacific.

The second reason appears to be our changing climate.  When you look back at the top 15 warmest years in Syracuse, five have happened since 2010 and most of those occurred when there was NOT an El Nino in progress.

While we may not keep at the same pace through November and December to lock us into third place for the entire year, it is probably a good bet we will be able to add 2023 to the growing list of recent years landing in the top 15 warmest in Syracuse history.