2018 may be warmest year on record for New Zealand

NIWA are set to release an analysis of last year’s weather records next week, but Jim Salinger has jumped the gun on them, unofficially stating the 2018 was the warmest year on record for New Zealand.

NZ Herald:  2018 NZ’s hottest year on record – climate scientist

Niwa isn’t due to release its official summary for the year until early next week, but Professor Jim Salinger has already picked it the warmest on records stretching back to 1867.

His calculations put 2018’s mean annual land surface temperatures at 13.5C – or 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

His figure also surpassed the scorching years of 1998 and 2016, which were 0.80C and 0.84C above normal respectively.

Niwa meteorologist Chris Brandolino said people would have to wait until next week to see the climate agency’s final numbers – but added Niwa’s preliminary figures showed 2018 tracking extremely close to 2016’s record.

So it looks like being one of the warmest years on record, if not the warmest.

The New Zealand extended temperature record, 1867 - 2018, compared with the 1981 - 2010 normal. Bars represent individual years, the orange line smoothed trends, and dotted red line the overall trend. Source / Professor Jim Salinger

Fluctuations on that temperature record are to be expected, but an apparent surge trend over the last couple of decades could be a concern.

New Zealand is just a small part of the world, but is not the only place to record a warm year – but not the warmest.

Arizona Daily Star:  Tucson’s 2018 weather year end as fourth-hottest on record

Phys Org in November:  2018 temperatures set to be among hottest on record: UN

Global temperatures in 2018 are set to be the fourth highest on record, the UN said Thursday, stressing the urgent need for action to rein in runaway warming of the planet.

In a report released ahead of the COP 24  in Poland, the World Meteorological Organization pointed out that the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, and that “2018 is on course to be the 4th  on record.”

“This would mean that the past four years – 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 – are also the four warmest years in the series,” the UN agency said in its provisional report on the state of the climate this year.

2018, fourth hottest year on record?

The “warming trend is obvious and continuing,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas told reporters in Geneva.

The report shows that the global average temperature for the first 10 months of the year was nearly 1.0-degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era (1850-1900).

So there will be ongoing pressure to try to reduce the human effect of warming, and to mitigate possible issues.

Meanwhile, we have had a couple of weeks of generally very pleasant weather here in Dunedin, with a possible high into the thirties forecast for today. However this is just weather top enjoy (if you like 30+ temperatures, I prefer mid twenties.

More on weather:  A year of wild weather: Cyclones, lightning storms, flooding and cold snaps

So what’s in store for 2019?

This summer might not be a record breaker, as a weak El Nino brings unsettled weather.

We’re unlikely to get weeks on end of hot, dry weather, NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino says, but there’ll be periods of settled warm weather between blocks of cooler temperatures.

“This summer, variability is going to be the theme.”

This season the Pacific Ocean is signalling El Nino weather but the atmosphere is not, which makes it a “messy” driving force of the climate, he says, compared to when the two work in tandem.

Temperatures are about or above average and rainfall is forecast to be around normal – other than a bit drier in the Upper North Island and wetter in the West Coast of the South Island.

New Zealand is close to 1C warmer than a century ago. As the atmosphere warms it holds more water vapour, leading to heavier rainfall, Prof Renwick says. Along with rainfall extremes, more moisture in the air can lead to heavier or more unseasonal snowfalls.

But with underlying temperatures getting warmer, heat waves are also more likely.

Heat waves are rare here due to our usual weather variability.

Leave a comment


  1. kluelis

     /  4th January 2019

    “May be”? Ok will get back to me when you have definitive info.
    Interesting to use “warmest” not the “hotest” . Changes the emphasis considerably

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  4th January 2019

    Salinger: New Zealand’s average temperature had grown 1.3C warmer over 151 years of records.
    “It’s roaring away,” he said.

    No. That’s a rate of 0.87 degrees per century. That’s creeping. Salinger is the one roaring.

    • Griff.

       /  4th January 2019

      Here is a quick little lesson in groking trends from a plot Alan.
      At about 14 year old level so I should not have to point it out to you.
      When you see a straight trend line imposed on data it tells you the average rate over time.
      if you look at the data and see at the beginning the data is over the trend line the middle is under and the end is again over the trend line it tells you the trend is a curve =acceleration.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  4th January 2019

        Not much in it though Griff. Without the last three data points you’d be hard pressed to call it and looking at the wavy lagged line you could be accused of cherry-picking your endpoints.

        • Griff.

           /  4th January 2019

          Without the last three data points you’d be hard pressed to call it and looking at the wavy lagged line you could be accused of cherry-picking your endpoints.

          Still clinging to “The paws” Alan that one that never happened ?

          Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the “average weather,” or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

          Less three data points using the WMO definition of climate thirty years.
          1985 to 2015 Trend: 0.187 ±0.050 °C/decade (2σ)
          1988 to present Trend: 0.197 ±0.050 °C/decade (2σ)
          The trends are not statistically distinguishable.

          And you wonder why I give you shit ?
          You have an advanced degree Alan yet still you come out with childish rubbish A school kid would get a fail mark for.
          The global trend is presently ( last 30 years ) 0.197 a decade.
          That is well over twice your mark one eyeball distraction.
          In context 5 C is an ice age with 2 km of ice sitting over what is now New York city.
          We are no longer hunter gathers who can just migrate when conditions dont suit us. Our civilization will not cope with that much change over a couple of century’s.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  4th January 2019

            Don’t be silly, Griff. You can see for yourself that there are strong cycles in the temperature data and thirty years is quite inadequate to determine a trend and almost certain to be end point sensitive. I don’t know how that red line in the chart is being smoothed but the right hand end looks anomolous as though the last three points are being over-weighted relative to earlier peaks.

            • Griff.

               /  4th January 2019

              Slowly Alan
              I gave you the numbers… the trend with the last three points and the trend without the last three points are statistically the same over the definition of climate thirty years .
              You are now denying the evidence that the last three data points make no difference.
              The WMO the World Meteorological Organization uses thirty years for climate because it is long enough to overcome short term weather fluctuations.
              Here is the trend calculator feel free to play around to your harts content
              any reasonable period will give the same results.

              If you look below you will see the effect of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on on global temperatures .
              La Nina is cooler and El Nino is warmer.
              The trend for either EL nino years and La Nina years is statically the same trend . ENZO is the largest phenomenon known to give cyclic effects to global temperatures.

              You are fooling your self .
              I cant fix your mental issues with denial.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  4th January 2019

              Griff, i thought it was perfectly clear I was commenting on Salinger’s NZ data charted above as reported in the Herald. Your Skeptical Science global datasets are different and irrelevant to my comments.

  3. Griff.

     /  4th January 2019

  4. Moffett: Member of NewConservative in NZ. Love making a difference.

  5. George

     /  4th January 2019

    The only reason they are employed is the scaremongering global warming claims they maintain.
    Those prophesies that have come out each year and time has proven wrong time and again.
    It’s just climate and weather

  6. Zedd

     /  4th January 2019

    all the recent charts I see on ‘global temperature;’ shows an upward trend over the last few decades.. yet there are still many with their heads either in the sand or up something else; saying ‘its just a hoax or a myth’.. all I say is’ Ignorance is NOT bliss’.. its time to face reality folks & stop looking for excuses to ignore this… it will not just magically go away, if you think this way :/ 😦

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  4th January 2019

      What many are saying is not that there is no climate change but that it’s cyclical and there is not a huge amount that people can do about it.

      Pope didn’t say that ignorance qua ignorance was bliss, but that ‘where ignorance is bliss/ ‘Tis folly to be wise.’


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