Is this climate change?

At the beginning of the year, we often get a weather summary from NIWA – the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. NIWA conducts environmental science with the aim of protecting the natural resources of New Zealand and the planet.

NIWA reported there were more extremes in our weather in 2017 – more rain in winter than usual, more high temperatures in spring and early summer than usual. 2017 was the fifth hottest year since records began in 1909.

By the end of the year, the lower North Island was suffering drought from lack of rain. On the other hand, March and April brought heavy rain and flooding in some areas as a result of Cyclones Debbie and Cook.

Oamaru was the wettest town in winter and then the driest town 5 months later. In July, Oamaru had the same amount of rain in one day as it had in total for the next 5 months.

Nearby town, Cromwell, had temperatures of 25 degrees or more for 23 consecutive days while Christchurch had only 1mm of rain for 47 consecutive days in November and the first half of December.

The Nelson region had the highest number of annual sunshine hours: 2633 hours in the whole year.

In the future, we can expect more extreme weather like more rain than usual, more areas of drought and more hot weather.

For the next three months we will have higher than usual temperatures, says NIWA. Meanwhile Australians are sweltering in very high temperatures. Parts of Sydney reached 47 degrees today.

Vocabulary

• extreme (adj, n) – much greater than the usual, much less than usual
• drought (n) – no rain on the land
• consecutive (adj) – following one after the other, without interruption
• sweltering (to swelter) (v) – suffering from the heat, unpleasantly hot






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