New Zealand hottest ever day in February 1973 arrived directly from Australian heatwave

After being pointed to a NIWA page of NZ climate extremes I saw that the hottest ever day in NZ was the 7th Feb 1973 when it was 39.2 at Ruatoria and 42.4 at Rangiora. Curiosity made me check Sydney that month and a ~40 degree heatwave ended on the 6th. Contour map of the Australian max temp anomaly 6 Feb 1973.
Fascinating that the Australian air traveled ~2400 km over the ditch yet retained heat to make 40 across Aotearoa. Yet pro-IPCC dogmas would not admit to UHI warmed air wafting out to the countryside to affect rural stations.
The BoM rates Canberra Airport as a “non-urban” site despite close proximity to booming urban area.

6 thoughts on “New Zealand hottest ever day in February 1973 arrived directly from Australian heatwave”

  1. Warwick assuming the 1972 in the title is a typo. Which ever I was probably on the beach at Ruakaka

  2. I remember that day in Canterbury. I was at school and at lunchtime, many of us paddled in the river that ran through the school grounds. There was a strong NW wind so it was the fohn effect over the southern Alps that brought the heat. The telling feature would be to look at what the conditions were like in Hokitika that day. That would show if the heat was from Oz, which I doubt. There should also be weather maps in the papers of the time.
    Later on that day, the SW front arrived with rain so that is also the record for the largest temperature drop.

  3. Thank you Alan – I was in Oz by then but can not recall any talk of the 40 from rels. Growing up in NZ through 40’s to mid 60’s I have no memory of heat like that – I recall we thought 80 was hot. Auckland humidity I do remember and walking to school barefoot in frosts in the late 40’s.

  4. ChrisM thanks for those memories – if you google – australian bushfire smoke in new zealand – you will see many press stories saying that Aussie smoke makes it across the ditch at times – an example is this Jan 2013 story – Australian bush fires colour NZ’s skyline –
    tvnz.co.nz/national-news/australian-bush-fires-colour-nz-s-skyline-5321799
    Quote – “MetService added it has not had any reports of people smelling smoke, indicating that the smoke particles are drifting very high in the atmosphere.” Which tells that it is not unknown to smell Aussie smoke in NZ.

    Fires in Waiheke and Canterbury – 20 Jan 2013
    www.stuff.co.nz/national/8200002/Fires-in-Waiheke-and-Canterbury
    Quote – New Zealand is expected to cop some of the heat from Australia as a high moves across The Ditch, however, it is unlikely Sydney’s 45-degree highs will reach these shores.
    Clearly stating that noticeable heat can traverse the ditch under the right conditions.

    If NZ weather data were more readily accessed online I could check more cases.

  5. Growing up on the Canterbury plains in the 60s, we often saw the red skies from the Australian bush fires. However, as the articles you quote state, the smoke particles were very high, probably way up in the cirrus cloud layer. There is a fair bit of difference between that and the ground layers.
    For it to be a NW wind, that implies an anticyclone in the north Tasman so it is possible for the air to come across. At an average wind speed of say 30km/h, it would take about 2 days to get there.
    With modern data, it would be possible to see if when there is a similar weather map,f there is teleconnection between Hokitika and the weather two to three days earlier in Victoria. Though that is what GISS argue with their smoothing so beware.

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