Northland in line for warmest winter

By Mike Dinsdale

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Another sunny, winter's day beats down on the Canopy Bridge at Whangarei's Town Basin. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Another sunny, winter's day beats down on the Canopy Bridge at Whangarei's Town Basin. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Northland is heading for its warmest winter, and year, on record after July produced some record high temperatures in parts of the region.

Northland had its warmest May on record this year and followed that with record highs in both June and July, according to national climate body Niwa.

Niwa meteorologist Seth Carrier said 2016 had already been the warmest year on record in Northland and nationally, and it would take some "pretty low temperatures" from now until the end of the year for that to change.

"Northland has had very warm weather overall [this year]. So far in 2016 you have been well above average and, with one month to go, you are heading for the warmest winter on record up there, or at least very close to it, and maybe the warmest year [on record]," Mr Carrier said.

"Anything could happen between now and the end of the year, but because of the warmer than average weather we've had so far, we would have to lose so much ground for it not to be [the warmest year on record]."

Niwa's climate summary for July found the month was the 10th-warmest July on record nationally, but some towns in Northland had their warmest.

Kerikeri and Kaikohe had their highest ever mean maximum air temperatures for July at 16.9C (1C above normal) and 15.8C (1.8C), while Kaitaia recorded its fourth highest at 16.4C (1C). Kaikohe also recorded its equal highest ever July daily temperature of 19.1C on July 4.

And Niwa is predicting that the August-October period will likely bring more above average temperatures both locally and nationally.

Mr Carrier said Niwa's climate outlook for the three months predicts that temperatures in Northland have a 70 per cent chance of being above average and 20 per cent chance of being near average. There is a 10 per cent chance of temperatures being below average.

"Northland has been the place to be [this winter] and you guys are at the top of the heap when it comes to temperatures this winter," Mr Carrier said.

"With your [July record high mean temperatures] 1C to 1.8C above the norm - while that may not seem a lot, that's a huge increase in the context of things."

- Northern Advocate

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