Jan 12, 2020 08:05 PM EST
New Zealand has experienced its fourth-warmest year since records started in 1909, with temperatures between 0.5ºC and 1.2ºC higher than annual averages throughout the United States.
NIWA’s annual climate summary shows it’s now been 35 months since New Zealand had a month with below-average temperatures.
Five of the past seven years have been among New Zealand’s hottest on record.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology also released annual figures for Australia today. Its data shows 2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year.
The hottest year on record for New Zealand was 2016, with a country-wide average temperature of 13.45°C. The years 1998 and 2018 are tied in second place with an average of 13.41°C.
There have been a hundred new daily temperature data set at spots around New Zealand. The country has not experienced extreme weather that has plagued neighboring Australia, and its climate is traditionally much warmer.
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Professor James Renwick, a climate scientist at Victoria University Wellington, said the trend toward warming suggests that New Zealand is as affected by climate change as the rest of the world. He, however, clarified that the country’s warming “wasn’t linear.”
The professor pointed out that there were some cold spells in 2019, with a dozen daily low-temperature records broken. “But they were far surpassed by high temperatures, with more than 100 new daily high-temperature records broken,” he said.
Renwick said that oceans around the country felt “record warmth” in many locations. While New Zealand’s climate turned into a variable, average temperatures had exceeded the 1981-2010 average in 80% of the past two decades.
“That’s how a warming climate works,” he stated. “[There were ups and downs; however, the possibilities of a warm year are increasing all the time,” the climate scientist added.
Stronger than ordinary westerly winds blowing throughout the country had resulted in droughts. Lisa Murray, a meteorologist at New Zealand’s MetService, said the knock-on effect of the trend is the country started the year with many eastern and northern regions “thirsty for some large rainfall.”
“Different [weather stations in New Zealand], [including Tauraga’s MetService station], have [observed] their warmest year on record,” she added.
While rainfall turned into up in a few components of the South Island, large areas of the country had only 50 to 80% of their usual rain, according to the figures of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.
Renwick said the pattern would likely continue with the climate change this century, with more common drought and multiplied fire danger in eastern regions and the northern North Island.
The typical quantity of moisture in the air, according to Renwick, is strongly related to temperature. He added that heavy rainfalls become more massive, and flooding becomes more common for the weather to warm.
The MetService delivered a severe red climate caution in 2019 to caution human beings approximately destructive climate occasions that required immediate action, Murray said.
Being notified of oncoming severe weather, according to Murray, is becoming increasingly important in a changing climate where new extremes are observed each year.
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