New Zealand records warmest-ever June as ski fields struggle. Wellington, New Zealand – New Zealand had the warmest June since record-keeping began as ski fields struggle to open and experts predict shorter southern winters in the future.
A variety of factors led the record, including more winds from the temperate north than south Antarctica and unusually warm seawater temperatures, said Gregor Macara, a climate scientist at the government-owned National Water and Atmospheric Laboratory.
He said the change in the weather would change every month, “But the underlying trend is rising temperatures and global warming,” Macara said.
The average temperature in June is 10.6 degrees Celsius (51 degrees Fahrenheit), the research institute reported on Monday. This is two degrees Celsius above the June 30-year average and more than 0.3 degrees Celsius above previous records for 2003 and 2014. Archiving began in 1909.
Mascara said the average temperature in New Zealand has risen about 1C over the past century. He said if the trend continues, people can expect a late, mild winter, followed by an earlier spring.
Many students press the ski slopes for a week ahead of winter break. Snow cameras at several large resorts show exposed rocks and dirt covered in heavy snow. Some fields use snow plows to open some runs and close others.
Paul Anderson, chief executive of NZSki, which runs Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt and The Remarkables ski areas, remained optimistic. “We always want a little more snow on the ground,” he said. “But it’s going to snow tomorrow, and we can snow for four or five days.”
Anderson said his company is adapting to changing conditions by investing in snow removal equipment and lifts that can withstand strong winds. “It is very clear that climate change is a reality. You can’t argue with that science,” Anderson said. “But it’s been a long time.”
Some farmers have welcomed the mild weather.
“This year has been a godsend,” said Jim Galloway, local president of Hawke’s Bay for the advocacy group Federated Farmers. He said that the hot weather with the rain finally allowed some grass to grow and feed the sheep and cattle. It follows two years of drought in his area.
“It helped a lot, but there is a long way to go,” Galloway said. “There is not much groundwater. Basically, the dam is still empty.” And Galloway said that while drought is not new to farmers, he is concerned that a warming climate is making droughts more frequent.