Climate continues alarming trend say NIWA

File Photo.

Temperatures in 2018 continued to hit record highs, with scientists calling the year a continuation of an "alarming trend".

The latest National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research climate summary report released today showed the year kicked off with the hottest month ever recorded.

January's mean temperature last year was over 20.3C, which was 3.1C higher than the average.

The year as a whole was the second-equal warmest on record, along with 1998.

The average temperature was 13.41C, not quite reaching the high set in 2016 with an average of 13.45C.

NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino says four of the past six years were now in the top five of warmest ever recorded, which was extremely concerning.

"[The year of] 2016 was the warmest, 2017 was the 5th warmest. This year equal-second warmest and I think 2015 was the third warmest," says Chris.

"So four out of the past six years we've finished top five and unfortunately part of a long-term and alarming trend."

The incredibly hot January meant the summer of 2017-2018 could claim to be New Zealand's hottest ever - a record previously set in 1934-35.

Chris says there were 49 locations which reached record or near record temperatures around the country.

In particular, Levin where the records date back to 1895, had its warmest year ever.

Chris says the warm weather was due to three main components - sea surface temperatures, air flow from tropic and sub-tropic areas and an increase in greenhouse gasses.

"The increases in greenhouses that we continue to see is warming in the background," he says.

"In other words, we are seeing a long-term tailwind of temperatures. Our changing climate is acting as a long-term tailwind for high temperatures."

Rainfall was described by NIWA as "lumpy" across the year with lots of rain in February and less rain than expected for some places in June, August and September.

In Timaru, where records go back to 1881, the town experienced its fourth wettest year ever.

Alexandra had the highest temperature with 38.7C, while the sunniest region during 2018 was Nelson.

The wettest place was Milford Sound and the driest Clyde.

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Posted on 10-01-2019 20:30 | By Slim Shady

A bit presumptive and arrogant, if I may say, to say I’ve made an error. And if I have, and it’s a very big if, I won’t realise it, and neither will you, because we will both be long gone. Earth has been around along time and seen many climate changes, none of which were due to man. Relax. Let it be.

I think perhaps we should ask ourselves

Posted on 09-01-2019 20:18 | By earlybird

whether industrial pollution, deforestation, coal mining, the oil industry etc etc is good for our planet, and if it isn’t, which is clearly the case, then we should act now to put a stop to it. Sure climate change has been ongoing since time began and humans may or may not be making it worse, but I think we can be sure that pollution is not good for the planet. It’s encouraging to see a change in attitude to plastics and also the development of electric cars etc, but more needs to be done.

@earlybird and Slim Shady

Posted on 09-01-2019 10:28 | By morepork

It sounds crazy but you both could be right. The trouble is that we have no definitive evidence because our records don’t go back thousands of years. It might be a coincidence and just part of a natural cycle that we don’t have enough recorded information to analyse properly, or it might be that the Human settlement of the planet IS having an effect. Certainly there are concerned people who are not just self serving, just as there are others who do have a vested interest. My opinion is that we should accept that we COULD be causing a problem and do as much as possible to minimize the impact of our cars, habitations, and industries, "just in case". It makes sense to preserve the planet for future generations, rather than pillage it for the greed of a select few, whether or not we are affecting the weather.

Slim Shady

Posted on 09-01-2019 08:41 | By earlybird

Ignore the facts at your peril. I know some people who should know better think like you too. Unfortunately by the time you realise your error it may be too late.

Settle down

Posted on 08-01-2019 21:00 | By Slim Shady

Some of those old thermometers and such are a bit ropey. It’s all political nonsense and scaremongering. People after tax dollars. All self serving.

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