Not only one of the warmest years on record, 2013 was the 37th consecutive year that the global temperature (57°F) was above average, by 1.12°F.
In a time lapse from NASA, since 1884, global surface temperature are getting warmer year by year at an alarming rate.
Locally, it's not only the temperature that's concerning, but the recent lack of precipitation too.
"I think what's going to be the biggest concern for the Pacific Northwest is not really so much in way of temperatures but it's precipitation," says Mary Wister, a Science & Operations Officer at the National Weather Service Office in Pendleton. "We're lacking precipitation for a good portion of the area and a lot of times when you don't have precipitation, you're going to see that in your temperatures."
In December 2013, the Tri-Cities saw 0.11" which is about 1.02" less than normal. Yakima saw a bit more precipitation at around 0.32", but still less than normal by 1.21".
When looking at the year as a whole, 2013 was not a good year for precipitation in Walla Walla. Annual precipitation totals were so low that a new record low was nearly set. Walla Walla saw 12.53", making 2013 the second driest year on record (the driest being 1952 with 12.18").
Wister also says that so far in 2014, the lack of snowpack in the mountains could have lasting effects, especially increasing the likelihood of fire outbreaks this spring and summer.