Niwa doubts new sunshine recorder

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 30/06/2014

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The sun has still been shining brightly in New Plymouth, despite Niwa's doubts over the accuracy of the measuring device.

With half of the year gone, New Plymouth is still second in the sunshine ranks, but that could change.

Earlier in the year Niwa couldn't believe sunshine hours had gone up 20 per cent in two years and sent the computerised measuring device away to test its calibration.

A new device, the same as the one being tested, was installed in April and is collecting data in the meantime.

Year to date data shows Whakatane is in the lead with 1368.7 sunshine hours while New Plymouth is a clear second with 1339.1, Niwa spokesman Chris Brandolino said.

Brandolino said if the device was found to be faulty, sunshine hours dating back to 2012 would be under review and data could be changed.

Before 2012, sunshine data was measured manually in New Plymouth but an automated instrument was installed at the airport for 2012.

That coincided with the 20 per cent increase, which was well ahead of the 5 per cent above normal recorded in Stratford and Taumarunui.

In 2012 a record-breaking 2433 sunshine hours were clocked in New Plymouth and then in 2013 the city moved to number two in the country with 2668 hours.

In comparison, 2176 hours of sun was manually recorded in 2010 and 2025 in 2011, before the automated machine came in to use. Niwa believed the problem is in the calibration.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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