Now the first six months of the year are done and dusted, NIWA forecasters have been analysing the country’s weather statistics to see where we stand compared to last year’s record breaker.
If you’ve been feeling a little cooler, it’s because temperatures are notably down on average. The first six months of last year set up 2016 to become the hottest year on record, with an average temperature of 15.2°C. For January to June this year that figure has dropped to 13.8°C. NIWA forecaster Ben Noll says while the first six months of 2017 were 0.02 degrees above the long-term (1981-2010) average, that was nothing compared to the same period last year were a whopping 1.43 degrees above average.
In spite of the cool-down, January-June 2017 still ranks as the 39th-warmest January-June period in the last 109 years, according to NIWA’s Seven Station Temperature Series. Mr Noll says the direction from which the air is coming plays an important role in temperatures across New Zealand. Sub-tropical northerlies tend to draw down warm, humid air while southerlies via the Southern Ocean can pack a chilly punch.
Unlike 2016, January-June of 2017 has not had an abundance of northerly winds. Out of the first six months of 2017, just February and April experienced predominantly northerly winds. Conversely, the first half of 2016 saw five out of the first six months (February through June) have a notable northerly wind bias.