New Zealand experiences its warmest winter on record as Antarctic winds stay away

Winter was lacking its usual Antarctic chill this year in New Zealand.

Scientists say the South Pacific nation had its warmest winter since record-keeping began more than a century ago.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said Tuesday the average nationwide temperature during winter was 9.5 Celsius (49.1 Fahrenheit). That's about 1.2 Celsius above average and 0.3 Celsius above the previous record set in 1984. Record-keeping began in 1909.

NIWA climate scientist Brett Mullan says this winter had a pattern of warmer winds from the north but fewer southerly winds. Those typically bring cold air from Antarctica. He says he believes that global weather remains variable but is in a warming pattern.

June, July and August are considered the winter months for the Southern Hemisphere.