IT WAS OFFICIALLY NEW ZEALAND'S HOTTEST SUMMER ON RECORD...

                           

                 New Zealanders made the most of the country's hottest summer on record. CHARLOTTE CURD/STUFF

 

New Zealand just sweated through its hottest summer on record, a Niwa report shows...

The nationwide average temperature for the 2017-18 summer was 18.8 degrees Celsius, 0.3C above the previous 1934-35 record of 18.5C, and a significant 2.1C above the 1981-2010 averages.

Niwa principal forecasting scientist Chris Brandolino said the record-breaking summer was "not too surprising", however.

"Going back to the end of spring, late November, there were strong indications that this would be a summer that would be warmer than usual," he said.

"When we get these things happening, like a really warm ocean because of the marine heatwave - we've had really warm ocean temperatures going back to November - and when we have winds coming from the north, more than usual, you're going to get really warm weather. However, I think the difference-maker is we have climate change now. Our Earth is warmer than it was 20 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago.

"When you have these conditions coming together like they did, no, it's not too surprising." 

The hot summer was characterised by mean sea level pressures being higher than normal, bringing more northerly and northeasterly winds than normal - consistent with La Niña conditions.

Natural climate variability explained the higher temperatures compared with 30 or 50 years ago, Brandolino said.

"The Earth is continuing to warm because of global greenhouse gas emissions."

2017-18: Kiwi Summer for the Record Books 🌡️

Standout stats:

*The hottest summer on record by 0.3°C.
*The had seas up to 6°C above average.
*Alexandra reached 38.7°C on 30 Jan, NZ's hottest Jan temp in 39 yrs.
*Above normal amount of ex-tropical cyclones (2).

CLIMATOLOGY OF THE TIME

The summer may have been a record-breaker, but the 1934-35 summer was more extreme in the context of its time.

Niwa has been recording temperatures nationwide since 1909, and Brandolino said that although the 2017-18 summer was hotter than that of 1934-35, the summer of 1934-45 was more of an anomaly because of the climatology of the time.

"In 1934-35, that summer was 2.7C above-average," he said.

So while that summer was 2.7C above-average, the 2017-18 summer was actually only 2.1C above the current 30-year average. 

When Niwa calculated temperature averages, it based it off a 30-year average. Currently, Niwa used the 1981-2010 average. 

"Every 10 years we readjust and form the new average," Brandolino said.

"Back in 1934-35, that 2.7C above-average temperature was relative to the New Zealand climatology at the beginning of the century. The baseline was a lower baseline."

2017-18: Kiwi Summer for the Record Books 🌡️

Standout stats:

*The hottest summer on record by 0.3°C.
*The had seas up to 6°C above average.
*Alexandra reached 38.7°C on 30 Jan, NZ's hottest Jan temp in 39 yrs.
*Above normal amount of ex-tropical cyclones (2). pic.twitter.com/dGbuNtdrjF

In terms of a difference from average, only 2017-18 and 1934-35 in the last 109 years have managed to exceed +1.25°C.

Masterton experienced the largest mean temperature anomaly, or difference from average, anywhere in NZ this summer: +3.2°C. pic.twitter.com/zGUV14f0P1

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