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Climate Summary: New Zealand’s warmest year on record

The year 2016: New Zealand’s 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.


Yearly rainfall in 2016 was above normal (120-149% of the annual normal) for parts of Kapiti Coast, Tasman, West Coast and Fiordland. In contrast, rainfall was below normal (50-79% of the annual normal) in parts of the eastern North Island south of Napier, and parts of the eastern South Island north of Christchurch. Rainfall was near normal (within 20% of the annual normal) for the remainder of New Zealand.

Soil moisture

Below normal soil moisture levels prevailed in eastern parts of north Canterbury and eastern parts of the Wairarapa for much of the year. By the end of April, soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for eastern and inland parts of the South Island, and extensive parts of the North Island. Abundant November rainfall contributed to soil moisture levels that were above normal for the time of year in Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, Otago and Southland.


Annual sunshine was predominantly near normal (90-109% of the annual normal) throughout New Zealand, although small sections of the country observed above average sunshine (110-125% of the annual normal). Richmond experienced New Zealand’s highest annual sunshine total on record. Sunshine was below normal (75-89% of the annual normal) in parts of Bay of Plenty.

Full climate summary: 2016_Annual_Climate_Summary_Final.pdf

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