Sunday, November 28

Aotearoa has its warmest winter on record, with a warm spring forecast

The country just had its warmest winter on record, beating the record set last year.

The queue for the Pages Road Covid-19 test center in Christchurch.

People queuing at a Covid-19 testing center last month on a sunny day in Christchurch.
Photo: RNZ / Kim Moodie

Niwa’s official weather data shows that from June to August they were 1.32 ° C above average.

Meteorologist Nava Fedaeff said in a statement that the last time a consecutive year exceeded its previous winter temperature record was in 1971.

He said there were 76 places across the country that experienced a record or near record warm winter.

Fedaeff said record temperatures from 50 years ago are now considered close to average, as have been seven of the 10 warmest winters since 2000.

Fedaeff delved into historical weather records and found that the last time New Zealand experienced a similar sequence of events was 50 years ago. The winter of 1970 was at that time the warmest winter on record in New Zealand only to be surpassed by the winter of 1971.

“What was considered unusually warm at the time is no longer considered unusual. The winter of 1971 is now 13th in the temperature rankings, while the winter of 1970 is 18th.”

Fedaeff said that what might have been considered a record in 1970 is now considered close to average.

“For example, the winter of 1971, which once broke records, is 0.75 ° C colder than the winter we just experienced.”

The 1970s and 1971, as well as the winters of 2020 and 2021, were influenced by La Niña with warm coastal waters, frequent high pressure, and winds more from the north and northeast than normal.

“These similar winters, decades apart, show us that there are key natural ingredients for a warm winter, but adding climate change to the mix is ​​like taking the same recipe and swapping plain flour for flour,” Fedaeff said.

Warmer than usual spring

Niwa is forecasting a warmer spring than usual.

Niwa predicts unusually warm conditions at times this spring, particularly in the east of both islands.

He said that despite this, cold spells and frost can still occasionally occur, especially early in the season.

Niwa says that spring rainfall is more likely to be below normal in the east of the North Island, close to normal in the west of the South Island, and almost as likely to be close to normal or below normal in all remaining regions in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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