The global trend of warming weather continued, with the final year of the decade setting record average temperatures in many parts of New Zealand. The warming trend continued in 2019, which clocked in as New Zealand’s fourth warmest since 1909 with an average temperature of 13.37°C.
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 nationwide average temperature of 13.45°C. The years 1998 and 2018 are tied in second place with an average of 13.41°C.
Victoria University of Wellington Professor James Renwick said the warm trend shows New Zealand is as affected by climate change as the rest of the world: "The year 2019 was our fourth warmest on record. In the past 20 years, only four had annual mean temperatures below the 1981-2010 average, so 80 percent of those years were warmer than average. In the first 20 years of the record (1909-1928), only four (20 percent) had annual mean temperatures above the 1981-2010 average. That’s how a warming climate works, we see ups and downs but the chances of a warm year are increasing all the time.”
"There were some cold spells in 2019, with a dozen daily low temperature records broken. But they were far outweighed by high temperatures, with over 100 new daily high temperature records broken."
Last year started with an unusually warm January, partly driven by warmer sea temperatures around coastlines. The heat was also felt inland with a record temperature of 38.4°C recorded at Hanmer Forest.