January warmest month on record

It has been confirmed what was expected and well signalled – January was the warmest month on record for New Zealand. All that means definitively is that January was the warmest month on record.

It certainly seemed to be one of the most consistently warm and sometimes hot months that I can recall in Dunedin. I’ve experienced hotter, in Central Otago the summer of 1972/73 was a scorcher (and I worked through it outside most of the time), and they had another hot one this year.

NZH: January hottest NZ month in 150 years

Dr Jim Salinger, who pioneered Niwa’s benchmark seven-station series, used to analyse climate trends, said January’s temperature had come in at a scorching 20.2C – 3C above average.

That’s way above average.

“This makes it the warmest of any month in reliable temperature records dating back to 1867,” said Salinger.

Final figures have yet to be officially confirmed by Niwa, which will be releasing its summary for January tomorrow.

Former record-breaking months were February 1998 at 19.6C and February 2016 at 19.5C.

The previous warmest January was in 1956 with 18.8C.

1956 was before my time, and 2016 didn’t seem extraordinary in Dunedin (it must have been elsewhere). 1998 is notable as one of the hottest years on record.

In November, December and January, the temperature had come in at 17.7C, or 2.2C above average.

The hot early summer of 1934/35 – long used to compare warm seasons to – was 17.C.

“The main reason for the hot early summer and the marine heatwave around New Zealand over this period was a strongly positive Southern Annular mode, causing the storms whirling around the Southern Oceans to contract towards the Antarctic continent, with no cold outbreaks into the Tasman Sea and New Zealand area,” Salinger said.

“The frequent anticyclones tracking over the Tasman Sea across the South Island and to the east have allowed the seas to heat up, producing the marine heatwave.”

A marine heatwave also happened in 1934-35, but this period had been warmer by 0.4C, because of global-warming-producing climate change, Salinger said.

The New Zealand temperature series – better known as the seven-station series – was developed in 1981, as part of Salinger’s PhD work.

The stations are at Auckland Airport, Masterton Airport, Kelburn in Wellington, Hokitika Airport, Appleby near Nelson, Lincoln in Canterbury and Musselburgh in Dunedin.

“These are complete since 1909, and that is why Niwa uses the records from 1909, and they have been adopted as the standard,” Salinger said.

“I have extended this record back to 1867 using a smaller network of available stations. So this is the warmest month on record, since reliable records commenced in 1867.”

Most years this century have been warmer than almost all other years as far back as the record goes.

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17 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  February 1, 2018

    Climate change? Nah!! Something else…anything else…

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  February 1, 2018

      As usual you have it wrong.

      Reply
    • Zedd

       /  February 1, 2018

      nice one RG..
      anything but reality, eh

      Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 1, 2018

      Predominantly ‘man made’ climate change? Nah.

      Nice to have a good summer this year considering our last summer was crap.

      Reply
      • Mefrostate

         /  February 2, 2018

        You’re behind the times on your climate denial. Most now accept man-made climate change but have moved their goalposts to focus on the likely extent of ice melt.

        Reply
      • Griff

         /  February 2, 2018

        Try to keep up PDB
        Read the news.
        Global warming.
        Droughts, Fires, Flooding, Stronger storms….because there is more energy and more evaporation.
        All are predicted effects.
        All are happening right now in NZ and impacting us.
        All will continue to happen at greater frequency going forward.

        Reply
      • PDB

         /  February 2, 2018

        Solid proof that man is the main driver of climate change? There isn’t any.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 2, 2018

          The only ‘moving of the goalposts’ was from ‘global warming’ to the more generic and never wrong ‘climate change’.

          Reply
          • Griff

             /  February 2, 2018

            IPCC established 1988
            Guess what the CC stands for ?

            CO2 is a green house gas has been known since.
            On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground
            Svante Arrhenius
            Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science
            Series 5, Volume 41, April 1896, pages 237-276.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius

            Greenhouse effect
            In developing a theory to explain the ice ages, Arrhenius, in 1896, was the first to use basic principles of physical chemistry to calculate estimates of the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) will increase Earth’s surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.
            …….
            Arrhenius estimated based on the CO2 levels at his time, that reducing levels by 0.62 – 0.55 would decrease temperatures by 4–5 °C (Celsius) and an increase of 2.5 to 3 times of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 8–9 °C in the Arctic.[19][29] In his book Worlds in the Making he described the “hot-house” theory of the atmosphere.

            When you deny reality it just makes you look like an ignorant fool.
            You got owned with your rejection of temperature records nonsense last time yet you continue to spurt the same garbage

            Flat earthers are a joke so are climate change deniers.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 3, 2018

              What the deniers are questioning, I believe, is the cause, not the fact that it’s happening. But it’s easier to dismiss them as denying the fact that the climate is changing.

              People in Biblical times knew that the earth was round-there would have been some who didn’t, of course. But it was written about as being a sphere even then.

  2. Pickled Possum

     /  February 1, 2018

    Bloody Wonderful Summer. All made more bearable with a pool.
    Solider Flies are swarming around, they are the good flies.
    Raining down soft and gentle, Soaked the ground to dig and plant what a joy!
    Shield beetles Arrrrrrgh They have left the tamarillo tree and gone for the late corn.
    Hot, rain and then hot again = BUGS Galore!!

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 3, 2018

      Cicadas galore.

      I pity the people (almost all men) sweating in hi-viz. Surely these could be made of cotton or something that doesn’t boil the wearer alive like a lobster.There is nothing worse than wearing something that makes you sweat like a river-they should be called high-humidity.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 3, 2018

      Hi-vis, I mean. Made of microfibre for maximum sweatiness. My dog has a little yellow hi-vis in which he greatly fancies himself, It’s made of nylon, but he’s not out all day working in temps in the 30s and 90% humidity in it.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 3, 2018

        Thank you for sharing the fact that you have a swimming-pool, Possum. To those of us who haven’t one, it is so nice to know that someone else HAS.

        Next time you’re all dressed up,go and stand beside your pool and let me know so that I can come and push you in. Er, I mean take a photo of you standing there.

        Reply
        • Pickled Possum

           /  February 3, 2018

          hehe Don’t get to jelly and peanut butta over it Miss, it is ONLY a para pool but one I must say I can whale around it and it is so refreshing. Some angel gave it to me and it’s FANTABULOUS. I know people in Auckland, grown adults who have brought a child’s paddle pool and just sit in it for relief. I have a precious family member who lives in Hamilton who has the whole nine yards thing going on, concrete pool and she says she has never in her life had so many friends hahaha

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 3, 2018

            My mother and stepfather had the real thing-not a huge one, but one could swim in it. We had a Para Pool at home when I was at school-it was big enough to splash around in and sort of swim about,, Who needs an Olympic sized one ? The one that my mother and stepfather had was the perfect size, neither ostentatiously large nor too small to do anything but sit in.

            I knew some people who had a spa pool (it was there when they bought the house) and they would use that as a little pool in summer. I suspect that that’s what one up the road is used for 😀

            The person who invented the Para Pool was a benefactor to mankind-unless someone’s a serious swimmer, the big ones should be good enough for most people and they can be packed away in winter. I have read that in-ground ones can be a drawback when a house is sold because they take up so much of the section.

            Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 3, 2018

    Why is it newsworthy that January was the hottest month in NZ records? As the hottest time of the year, given the short time that records have been kept and the fact that the earth has been warming since the 1850 little ice age you might think it should be newsworthy if it wasn’t.

    The fact that every January is not the hottest month in NZ records shows that the rate of increase is slow relative to the periodic and random climate fluctuations. As the chart I linked to yesterday showed.

    Reply

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