2016 warmest on record in NZ

NIWA has released it’s Annual Climate Summary 2016  which shows that the New Zealand climate in 2016 was the warmest on record.

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower.  The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909.

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-positive conditions were present at the beginning of the year, although the strong El Niño event weakened rapidly from February, and ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed by May.


Temperature-wise, 2016 as a whole was above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country.

These temperature anomalies were especially high in Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, Manawatu, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, West Coast, Otago and Southland.

Near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) were observed in only a few locations including parts of Tasman and south Otago, Timaru and Oamaru.

No locations observed below average temperatures (0.51°C to 1.20°C below the annual average).

The first seven months of the year from January to July were remarkably warm, with the nation-wide average temperature higher than average for each month, respectively.

The three warmest months in 2016 in terms of the seven-station temperature series were February (2.2°C above average), May (2.1°C above average) and June (1.6°C above average).  Notably, these months were New Zealand’s warmest May, second-warmest February and third-warmest June on record.

August (0.5°C below average) and December (0.3°C below average) were the only two months in 2016 when New Zealand’s nation-wide average temperature was cooler than average.

The nation-wide average temperature for 2016 was 13.4°C (0.8°C above the 1981–2010 annual average), using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909.  2016 was the warmest year since 1909, based on this seven-station series, and surpassed New Zealand’s previous warmest year on record which occurred in 1998.

This shows that most of the record warmth was February to June.


Download the 2016 New Zealand Annual Climate Summary [PDF 1.66MB]