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NIWA Climate report: 2013 ‘third warmest year on record’

New Zealand sweated under its third-warmest temperatures on record last year, according to Niwa’s annual climate summary.

The country also suffered one of its worst droughts on record.

Niwa’s principal meteorology scientist Dr Mike Revell said the national average temperature last year was 13.4C, 0.8C above average and the third warmest on record since 1909.

The hottest year was 1998, followed by 1999, he said.

“I think it indicates that there’s been a significant upward trend in the temperatures.

“There’s no guarantee that next year will be warmer again, but we are expecting temperatures to continue to increase.

“The general drift of temperatures over the past 100 years…I think you could probably fairly safely associate that with global warming.”

Above average northerly winds last year, bringing warm air from the tropics, contributed to the warmer average temperature across the country, Dr Revell said.

“The winter was the warmest we’ve ever had, so although the year itself was the third warmest, the actual winter was the warmest that we’ve had since 1909,” he said.

The southerlies which hit Wellington in June were some of the worst on record, while the big drought which crippled farmers for the first three months of the year was alleviated in April by heavy rain, Dr Revell said.

“That was one of the worst droughts we’ve experienced for a long time.”

Of the six main centres, Auckland was the warmest last year, Tauranga was the sunniest, Christchurch was the driest, Wellington was the wettest, and Dunedin was the coldest and cloudiest.

Last year was the warmest year on record for Tauranga, and the third warmest year on record for Dunedin.

Over 2013, eleven tornadoes and four waterspouts occurred, from as far south as mid-Canterbury to as far north as southern Northland.

While they didn’t cause any injuries or deaths, they were considerable damage caused to individual properties and vegetation.

2013 was the driest year on record for Dargaville, Toenepi (near Morrinsville), Taupo and Turangi, with these locations each recording between 67 per cent and 72 per cent of normal annual rainfall.

Above normal rainfall was recorded in parts of the eastern South Island including Marlborough, North Canterbury and North Otago. Ranfurly, Alexandra and Lumsden all had near-record high annual rainfall totals.

2013 extremes:

• The highest air temperature was 35.1C, recorded at Clyde on January 5, and at Gisborne on both January 9 and 10.

• The lowest air temperature was -12.1C recorded at Lake Tekapo on June 28.

• The highest confirmed wind gust was 202 km/h, recorded at Mt Kaukau (Wellington) on June 20.

• The top daily rainfall was 346mm, recorded at Mt Cook Village on January 9.

• The wettest location was Cropp River (West Coast) with 10870mm of rain falling last year.

• The driest location was Lauder, Central Otago, with a mere 453mm of rainfall recorded.

• Whakatane was the sunniest location, recording 2792 sunshine hours.


Regional summaries:

• Auckland: mean temperature 15.9C (0.5C above average), 1145mm of rainfall, 2199 sunshine hours

• Tauranga: mean temperature 15.8C (0.9C above average), 1052mm of rainfall, 2515 sunshine hours

• Hamilton: mean temperature 14.2C (0.6C above average), 1086mm of rainfall, 2114 sunshine hours

• Wellington: mean temperature 13.7C (0.8C above average), 1409mm of rainfall, 2108 sunshine hours

• Christchurch: mean temperature 12.2C (0.6C above average), 683mm of rainfall, 2024 sunshine hours

• Dunedin: mean temperature 11.8C (0.7C above average), 775mm of rainfall, 1817 sunshine hours

NZ Herald


Guest on 14/01/2014 9:54am

Phil, just to show you are not one of those raging global warmer scaremongering ecotheologians, how about an occasional article presenting the sceptics viewpoint? To date I have not seen one, but 4 pro-global warming stories in the past month. It makes me realise you must be an alarmist. The trouble is, an alarmist  can’t be a proper forecaster as well, because by their own admission forecasters can’t go beyond 10-day projections (although metservice only claims 5-days). That puts 10-years ahead, and a century ahead out of reach. And so when guesswork takes over it becomes 50/50 each way, which is a waste of everyone’s time and money.

RW on 14/01/2014 6:55pm

Oh yes? – I’ve seen quite  a pile of anti-AGW claptrap in newspaper Letters to the Editor recently, and only one pro-AGW effort – completely one-sided. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen the “can’t go 10 days, so decades/century out of reach” fallacy trumpeted by denier ignoramuses, I’d be rich by now. I suggest your learn something about statistics and meteorology instead of laying bare your ignorance.

If you actually want to understand the differecne between weather and climate – bet you don’t – read this.




Guest on 14/01/2014 2:33am

Well said.

It does make me wonder what happened between 2000 & 2013? Is that not news? I guess not if it doesn’t fit your agenda

Cheers Dave


RW on 14/01/2014 6:08am

The 3 warmest years all occurred since 1997, and 2005 (amongst others) was also very warm. I suggest you do some research before rushing into “print”. You two are typical of the trolls that emerge when annual reports are published. Why don’t you look at the Australian one (easily the warmest year on record, with 25 times NZ’s land area…) – what’s your riposte to that?

Guest on 14/01/2014 12:58am

Well, 0.8c above average normal average temps (significant temp rise) call me stupid (Couldn’t care less) if that is a significant temp rise then I’d hate to experience a catastrophic temp rise.

That’s pathetic and fearmongering at its worse.

Great to see such a we rise in temps, I’m looking to grow crops I may not have been able to grow in the 0.8c cooler temps, just as the locals grew Grapes in Greenland when temps were warmer there. We can do so much more in self sustainability with a warmer climate, much more than we could with a -40c temp pattern that the US is experiencing recently.

This is fantastic news for us all and the plants and crops love it.

What I do fear is the coming ice age that is not too far away according to many a scholar and other wise souls.

Its only when organisations try to tell me that man has caused the average temp to rise by a “wopping” 0.8c – this is when they lose any credibility and should do.

Now, the sun is shining so off to grow some plants of a very tropical origin, a bit of variety to look forward to on the dinner table in the coming months.


RW on 14/01/2014 6:04am

Arrant denier nonsense, straight from their “Bible”.

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