New Zealand experienced its hottest June on record, with temperatures reaching more than 22 degrees Celsius. According to official climate data, it was the hottest June for the island nation since records began more than 110 years ago.
Temperatures hit record highs even as a polar blast was sweeping throughout the country. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said average temperatures across New Zealand were 2 degrees warmer compared to last year.
The agency said it recorded temperatures from 24 different locations across the country. The NIWA has been recording temperatures in New Zealand since 1909.
The agency said high temperatures were recorded across its long-term monitoring stations, which all detected above or well-above-average mean temperatures. The agency said it was particularly warm in regions such as Motueka, a region near the top of the South Island. Temperatures in the area reached 10.8 degrees - 3.2 degrees higher than the average temperatures recorded between 1981 and 2010.
The NIWA said Auckland had experienced the warmest and sunniest weather, while Tauranga was the wettest. The city of Christchurch was the coldest and driest, while Dunedin was the least sunny.
The agency said the highest temperatures were recorded in Hastings - including Hawke's Bay and Leigh - which had temperatures reaching over 22 degrees last month.
Climate scientists said the 2-degree average increase is already a "massive shift" away from normal. The NIWA said the higher temperatures can be attributed to the abnormally high sea level air pressure and climate change.
"North-easterlies are dragging air masses from the sub-tropics, so they are relatively warm. The fact we were having more north-easterlies than normal delivered warmer air over the country than we would typically see in June," the agency said.
According to weather data, temperatures in New Zealand have increased by around 1 degree over the past century. Scientists said if temperatures continue to rise, it could negatively affect the nation's tourism and agricultural sector.