Country Swelters Through Hottest Ever Month
January was the hottest month ever recorded in New Zealand, according to figures released by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and experts say climate change is one factor.
The heat has led to a shortage of fans that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern jokingly referred to as “fan-ageddon”. Ardern said that while many people were probably enjoying a great summer, they also needed to consider the long-term consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise.
Figures released by NIWA indicate the average temperature during January was 20.3C. That was more than three degrees above normal and beat the previous record of 19.6C set in February 1998. Record-keeping began in 1909.
Gregor Macara, a climate scientist with the weather agency, said that warmer seas, generally settled weather and more winds from the tropical north had led to the higher temperatures. He said climate change was an underlying and contributing factor.
February began on a different note as New Zealand was hit by a tropical storm that brought heavy rainfall, flooding and cooler temperatures. But Macara said the agency still anticipates temperatures for the month will be higher than normal.
Original article by Associated Press, The Guardian, February 2, 2018.