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The year 2013: 3rd-warmest year on record for New Zealand

2013 Annual Climate Summary 2013
The year 2013: 3rd-warmest year on record for New Zealand

2013 was a very warm year for New Zealand, with annual mean temperatures above average or near average across the entire country. The nation-wide average temperature for 2013 was 13.4°C (0.8°C above the 1971–2000 annual average), using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909

According to this seven-station series, 2013 was the third-warmest year on record.

Annual mean sea level pressures for 2013 were lower than usual to the west and south of New Zealand, whereas higher than normal pressures persisted to the east of the Chatham Islands, resulting in a northerly flow anomaly over the country. For the Tasman-New Zealand region as a whole, 2013 had the strongest northerly anomaly since 1971 based on pressure differences between Hobart and the Chatham Islands.

Slow-moving anticyclones dominated from the last 10 days of January through to the first half of April, coinciding with widespread drought conditions in the North Island. The remainder of the year was rather changeable, with May and June experiencing more south-easterly airflows than usual, and July and October being months with stronger north-westerly airflow.

Sea-surface temperatures around New Zealand were higher than normal throughout the year, which combined with the northerly flow anomaly will have contributed to the warm mean air temperatures observed throughout the country in 2013. ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed for most of the year.

Above average annual mean temperatures (0.5-1.2°C above annual average) were recorded in parts of every region of the country. Temperature anomalies were especially high about parts of southern Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Banks Peninsula and western Southland, where annual mean temperatures were at least 1.0°C above annual average respectively.

Seventeen locations recorded their warmest year on record, from as far north as Tauranga and as far south as Gore. Near average annual mean temperatures (within 0.5°C of annual average) were recorded in isolated areas including parts of the Far North, Coromandel, Western Waikato, Gisborne, Central Plateau, eastern Wairarapa, inland parts of the upper South Island, coastal mid-Canterbury and South Otago.

Annual rainfall totals for 2013 were below normal (less than 80 percent of annual normal) for parts of Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and isolated areas of the West Coast.

It was the driest year on record for Dargaville, Toenepi (near Morrinsville), Taupo and Turangi, with these locations each recording between just 67 percent and 72 percent of normal annual rainfall.
In contrast, above normal rainfall was recorded in parts of the eastern South Island including Marlborough, North Canterbury and North Otago. Ranfurly, Alexandra and Lumsden each observed near-record high annual rainfall totals. Annual rainfall totals were typically near normal (within 20 percent of annual normal) for the remainder of the country.

2013 was a sunny year for many areas, including southern Northland, Bay of Plenty, northern Taranaki, southeastern North Island, North Canterbury, the Canterbury High Country and the West Coast, where annual sunshine hours were at least above normal (more than 110 percent of normal). It was the sunniest year on record for Turangi and Cheviot. Near normal sunshine was typically observed elsewhere.

The year 2013 will be remembered for widespread drought conditions throughout many parts of the North Island early in the year. Further details about this and other significant weather events occurring in 2013 can be found in Section 10; Significant Extremes.


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