9 Jan 2017

2016 the hottest year on record

3:45 pm on 9 January 2017

It's official - 2016 was New Zealand's warmest year on record (since 1909) thanks to warmer ocean temperatures, anomalies in air pressure and climate change.

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Photo: 123 RF

Niwa's Annual Climate Summary, released today, showed the average temperature was 13.4°C, 0.8°C higher than the annual average for the 30 years from 1981 to 2010.

Principal scientist of forecasting Chris Brandolino said the country has warmed by nearly 1°C in the past 100 years because of an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Combined with warm north and northwest winds and warmer ocean temperatures, it made a recipe for record-breaking temperatures.

If you liked the heat, Gisborne was the place to be. It had an average high of 21.1°C, making it the warmest centre.

Sunshine hours were largely normal, with Richmond, near Nelson, having the most - all 2840 of them.

Rainfall more than doubled in parts of Kapiti Coast, Tasman, West Coast and Fiordland.

On the other hand, parts of the eastern North Island south of Napier and the eastern South Island north of Christchurch got half the usual amount.

Forest & Bird said, for New Zealand, a warming world meant more pests and diseases; increased threats to native species including penguins, kea, and tuatara; risks to fishing from ocean warming and acidification; and sea level rise.