Best Otago summer on record

If you feel like you had a real summer in Otago this year, you could be right - Dunedin recorded its highest number of sunshine hours since records began in 1947 and some Central Otago towns experienced their highest average maximum temperatures on record. 

Niwa's national climate centre's summer 2007-08 report shows records were set around the country with temperatures above average, rainfall below normal and high sunshine levels.

Principal scientist Dr Jim Salinger said the overall summer climate pattern was dominated by strong La Nina conditions, which produced more anticyclones or highs southeast of the South Island and more frequent mild northeasterly winds over New Zealand.

Record high sunshine hours were observed in the southern South Island, and record low sunshine hours in the Far North, he said.

Dunedin recorded 662 sunshine hours, which was 132% of normal, and Invercargill 716 hours, 135% of normal, also the highest since records began in 1932.

The national average temperature of 17.3degC was 0.8degC above normal and the highest for summer since 1998-99.

Daytime maximum temperatures were extremely warm in inland areas of the South Island, being 2degC above average, and some Central Otago locations had their highest average maximum temperatures on record.

Alexandra had its second highest average maximum at 26.3degC - 3.2degC above average.

Queenstown airport's average maximum air temperature was equal to the highest since records began in 1968, at 23.1degC - 2.1degC above average.

Dunedin's summer mean temperature was 15.4degC, above average, but below Christchurch and Wellington (16.9degC), Auckland (19.9degC) and Hamilton (19.1degC), he said.

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