2023 is tracking to be one of the top three hottest years on record for Aotearoa New Zealand.
NIWA meteorologist Tristan Meyers says 2022 was our warmest year on record, surpassing the record set the year before in 2021.
“Last month didn’t add to the record books, with it being the 34 th-warmest November since NIWA’s seven station temperature series began in 1909. Although the first half of December had mostly average temperatures, a sultry 33C temperature reading in North Canterbury yesterday [Wednesday] marked a hot and humid finish to the year, helping to keep 2023 near the top of the rankings.
“We’ll be confirming this in our annual climate summary issued early next month.”
In the meantime, Meyers says the Christmas outlook is a mixed bag.
“Showers and areas of rain look to affect the North Island, while a few showers are possible for the Southern Alps and east of the South Island. However, the West Coast looks drier. Parts of the eastern North Island look to also see some temperatures reach the high 20s or low 30s.”
He says while Australian wildfires will also keep raging, the smoke that’s being ferried to New Zealand is nowhere near as bad as the 2019-2020 fires, although he cautions Australians are looking at an above-average bushfire season.
“With the peak of the bushfire season still ahead of us, the recent smoke that’s made its way to New Zealand may be a sign of things to come later in the summer if more large fires break out.”