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‘Boston is losing the frozen season’: 2022 was one of Massachusetts’ hottest years on record, analysis shows

A yellow barn in Topsfield was matched in color from the surrounding field during a summer drought in the region in August 2022.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The year 2022 was one of Massachusetts’ hottest on record, a new analysis found.

Statewide temperatures throughout the year averaged 50.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.9 degrees Celsius) above the average for years 1901 to 2000.

That means 2022 tied 2016 for sixth-warmest year since record keeping began 128 years ago.

The report from the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst raises the alarm about the impact of climate change on the state.

The report found that this summer ranked as Massachusetts’ second-warmest since record keeping began. The state also experienced a warmer spring and fall, with January as the only month with average temperature below normal.


Locally, 2022 was the fourth-warmest year for Boston and Worcester.

Michael Rawlins, associate director of the Climate System Research Center and author of the report, said the temperature follows the continuous trend of the climate getting warmer over the years.

“Boston is losing the frozen season,” he said, with “a substantial reduction” seen in recent decades.

The report also found that the annual total precipitation for Massachusetts was also below the average for years 1901 to 2000, with last year’s summer ranked as the 10th-driest on record.

All of the Northeast experienced a warmer year above the 20th-century average at 47.8 degrees. This ranks last year as the 15th-warmest since record keeping started. Last year was also the 18th-warmest year on record for the whole country.

“With the increasing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and current emissions, we can expect further warming in coming decades,” Rawlins said.

Jennifer Francis, acting deputy director of Woodwell Climate Research Center, said she was unsurprised to see that 2022 ranked so high on the list of hot years. She noted that “even across a little state like Massachusetts,” temperatures vary greatly by region.


”For example, Southeastern Massachusetts had a much more severe drought this summer than areas in Western Massachusetts,” she said.

The findings come after a separate 2022 report by the Greater Boston Research Advisory Group found that by the end of the century, average temperatures in the Boston area could increase as much as 10 degrees above 2000 levels.

The Greater Boston Research Advisory Group also concluded that if countries continue to rely on fossil fuels and spew out carbon emissions at their current rate, the Boston area can expect as many as 80 days a year of temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. That would pose a significant threat to public health, the authors said, citing one estimate showing Boston’s heat-related deaths could triple by 2050.

But under a rosier scenario where global emissions fall substantially over the coming decades, Boston’s average annual temperatures could be capped at an increase of just 3 degrees by 2100. And the number of days a year when temperatures exceed 90 degrees could be kept to an average of 20 days, up from an average of 8 to 10 days a year now.

Dharna Noor can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @dharnanoor. Ashley Soebroto can be reached at Follow her @ashsoebroto.