New Zealand experiences record-breaking winter temperatures

• September 5, 2013
New Zealand

This year New Zealand experienced its hottest winter since records begun. Creative Commons: 2006

This year brought New Zealand its warmest winter since record keeping begun more than a century ago, as the country experienced temperatures around 1.2C above average for the time of year.

Scientists say a combination of warmer winds from the north and fewer southerly winds left the country lacking its usual Antarctic chill this winter.

Climate scientists warn that while global weather patterns remain variable, the world is warming.

Earlier this year, the World Meteorological Organisation released a seminal report analysing global and regional temperatures, and found that nearly 94% of reporting countries had has their warmest decade in 2001-2010.

With the exception of 2008, every year in this decade was among the warmest years on record.

In New Zealand, the average nationwide temperature was 9.5C (49.1F) for June, July and August, about 1.2C above average and 0.3C above the previous record set in 1984, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said. Record-keeping began in 1909.

This year’s unusually balmy winter was fuelled by a pattern of warmer winds from the north coupled with fewer of the southerly winds that typically bring cold air from Antarctica, Niwa climate scientist Brett Mullan said.

Mullan believes that while global weather remain variable, it is warming.

The mild winter was a boon for farmers, who have been recovering from a punishing summer drought as it allowed grass to sprout in parched fields.

Read more: Guardian >>

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