The past year was the second-warmest ever recorded for the Tampa Bay region.
In a report released Wednesday, the National Weather Service said the average temperature for 2012 was 74.8 degrees, the second-highest yearly average since the weather service began keeping records in 1890.
The 2012 average eclipses the previous No. 2 — 74.7 degrees — set in 2011.
The all-time record for a year was 75.3, set in 1990.
"One of the odd things is that these two historically warm years came after the 2010 winter, which was one of the coldest on record, and after the 2011 winter, which also started out as extremely cold,'' said Paul Close, meteorologist with the weather service's Ruskin office.
The readings were taken at Tampa International Airport. The averages were obtained by adding the high and low temperatures from each day of the year, then dividing them by the number of days in the year.
Are the higher average temperatures indication of global warming or climate change?
"There are numerous factors involved,'' said Close. "It would be difficult to tie it to any one particular thing.''