Pacific

First 6 months of 2016 hottest ever recorded in New Zealand

  • FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, tourist relax at the end of the track at the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand. Ski fields are struggling to open and winter electricity consumption is down in New Zealand after the first six months of 2016 proved to be the hottest start to a year that scientists have ever recorded. Temperatures in the South Pacific nation were 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the first half of the year, according to the government-funded National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.(AP Photo/Nick Perry)

    FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, tourist relax at the end of the track at the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand. Ski fields are struggling to open and winter electricity consumption is down in New Zealand after the first six months of 2016 proved to be the hottest start to a year that scientists have ever recorded. Temperatures in the South Pacific nation were 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the first half of the year, according to the government-funded National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.(AP Photo/Nick Perry)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, tourist relax at the end of the track at the Fox Glacier in New Zealand. Ski fields are struggling to open and winter electricity consumption is down in New Zealand after the first six months of 2016 proved to be the hottest start to a year that scientists have ever recorded. Temperatures in the South Pacific nation were 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the first half of the year, according to the government-funded National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.(AP Photo/Nick Perry)

    FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2016 file photo, tourist relax at the end of the track at the Fox Glacier in New Zealand. Ski fields are struggling to open and winter electricity consumption is down in New Zealand after the first six months of 2016 proved to be the hottest start to a year that scientists have ever recorded. Temperatures in the South Pacific nation were 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the first half of the year, according to the government-funded National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.(AP Photo/Nick Perry)  (The Associated Press)

The first six months of 2016 were the hottest start to a year that's ever been recorded in New Zealand, scientists say.

Temperatures in the South Pacific nation were 1.4 degrees Celsius (2.5 Fahrenheit) above the long-term average for the first half of the year, according to the government-funded National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. That's the highest since record-keeping began more than a century ago, and significantly higher than the previous record of 1.1 Celsius above average, reached in 1938 and again in 1999.

Chris Brandolino, a scientist at the research agency, said three factors contributed: unusually warm ocean temperatures, warm winds from the north, and a background of global warming.

He says the agency is predicting warmer temperatures will continue for at least another three months.