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Jackets optional: 2012 had near-record heat for Phoenix

PHOENIX — The just-concluded 2012 was the second-warmest year ever in the Valley.

The average temperature, factoring in the daytime highs and nighttime lows in Phoenix, was 76.7, nearly two degrees above normal, according to Mark O’Malley with the National Weather Service.

The warmest year on record was 1989, which saw an average temperature of 76.9.

“The past 10-15 years have been warmer and warmer in Phoenix and across Arizona. The trend is certainly there,” O’Malley said. “There’s a chance that each year is going to be in the top ten or twenty warmest years on record.”

Some of the metro area’s warmer temperatures can be traced to the heat island, O’Malley said. Asphalt and concrete absorb the daytime heat and slowly release it overnight.

There was also significant warmth across the state.

“When we look at some rural stations across the state, they’ve been warming as well. So the trend is there beyond the Valley,” O’Malley said.

Not only was it a warmer year, it was among the driest years on record. The Valley usually gets about eight inches of rain each year; 2012 brought just over four inches.