2010 was the fifth warmest year in the long term New Zealand record, and December the third warmest, according to figures released by NIWA and analysis by Jim Salinger. Salinger’s rankings are based on the revised “seven station series”. According to Jim:
[December] was 1.6 °C above the 1971-2000 average and the third equal warmest with 1988. Only 1934 and 2005 December’s were warmer, with the average temperature being 18.5 and 17.5 °C respectively.
This capped off another warm year, with an average temperature of 13.1°C, making 2010 the fifth warmest year nationally since the seven station series began in 1906. Only 1971, 1998, 1999 and 2005 have been warmer with temperatures of 13.2, 13.4, 13.4 and 13.1°C respectively.
NZ’s warmth is being helped along by a strong La NiÃ±a in the tropical Pacific, bringing warm moist air down towards the country. NIWA’s climate summary for the December has all the weather details and local statistics. Their annual summary for 2010 will be available soon.