The scientific experts have been warning about this for years so is it now coming true – is climate change affecting New Zealand? Are Northland, Auckland and Waikato the first New Zealand regions to start seeing the extreme weather patterns caused by man-made global warming or is it all just hot air?
Over the past decade Northland has seen some incredible extremes. The main being a switch from devastating floods to devastating droughts within months of each other. For the past 5 years it appears that Northland seems to have two settings – wet or dry. Actually, make that
extremely wet or extremely dry.
Record breaking rainfall in winter, recording breaking dry patches in summer. Not to mention extreme frosts last year that turned inland parts of Northland into South Island winter postcards.
But it’s not just Northland. Auckland is also seeing extremes too… from the hottest recorded Auckland temperature last February, to the hottest August on record to one of the coldest Octobers on record – all in 2009. Now Aucklanders have had their driest quarter on record and little rain is in the short range forecast.
Waikato, normally lush and green, looks more like Central Otago this year… it was a similar story last year.
Is this what Dr James Renwick at NIWA is talking about? The extremes of climate change?