CO2 not responsible for NZ’s hottest year on record

by Robin Grieve

Sacked NIWA climate scientist Jim Salinger has picked 2018 as New Zealand’s hottest year on record. NIWA isn’t due to release its official summary for the year until next week but Salinger’s prediction has brought out the usual suspects all claiming that global warming is running away and the situation is dire.

However Salinger himself said that he doubted 2019 would be as warm as 2018, “given that we had our warmest month ever in January, which was truly remarkable”

NIWA’s climate summary for January 2018 put the record January temperature of 20.3 °C, which was 3.1 °C above average, down to sea level pressure not the atmospheric concentration of CO2.

Higher than normal sea level pressure to the east of New Zealand, and lower than normal sea level pressure to the west of the country. This pressure setup delivered more northerly-quarter winds than normal.  Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in New Zealand coastal waters and the Tasman Sea remained considerably higher than normal throughout the month.

The combination of more frequent northerly-quarter winds and higher than normal SSTs had a profound influence on air temperatures observed throughout the country during January. 

NIWA Climate Summary January 2018

So NIWA do not blame CO2 emissions for the January anomaly which caused the so called record year and Salinger himself doubts 2019 will be as warm even though the CO2 levels will be the same or higher.

The official figures come out next week and while they may not support Salinger’s claim of a record, 2018’s temperature will be warm enough for CO2 emissions to be further villainized even though the real reason for the warmth was something else. 

Weather forecast company MetOcean put the high sea surface temperature in January down to persistent northeast sector winds.


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