Porirua temperatures rise - and it's not because of global warming
Temperatures in Porirua have got a lot warmer in recent months – and it's not because of climate change.
The city has a new automatic weather station, after relying since 1984 on readings from Mana Island, three kilometres out into the Tasman Sea.
The new station at Elsdon opened in April, and June data shows Porirua's average maximum daytime temperatures were 2 degrees Celsius warmer than on Mana.
It was welcome news to Porirua Mayor Mike Tana. "We always knew Porirua was warmer and sunnier than we've been seeing in weather reports, but now it's official," he said on Tuesday.
As well as being warmer during the day, the analysis showed Porirua was 3.6C colder in the mornings than Mana, showing the island had a very different climate overall because of its maritime location.
Porirua City Council collaborated with MetService, Niwa, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington Water and Wellington Rural Fire Authority to develop the station, next to the Elsdon Park hockey turf, with most helping the city to fund the cost.
Thanks to its urban location, data analysers have access to more accurately recorded temperatures, wind speed and direction, air and soil temperature, humidity, rainfall and warmth.
It will be operated and maintained by MetService.
Tana said: "We worked together well and not only do we get to brag about our weather, but it has important practical use.
"As well as having Porirua accurately reflected in MetService reports, this lets Niwa track our long-term climate data, the Rural Fire Authority can accurately update fire ratings, and we have better information for our stormwater management and harbour restoration projects."
Porirua colleges will also be able to use and study the data.
Niwa principal technician Andrew Harper said that, historically, finding the perfect location to record climates had been "notoriously difficult".
But the current site allowed the multiple organisations to use the automated weather station's data for their own purposes, he said.
"The council use it for a educational purposes, as well as for flood forecasting purposes, along with Wellington Water. Whereas the fire authority will use that data to determine fire danger.
"The new weather station characterises the climate of Porirua better, whereas the island's station was more reflective of its maritime location."