are warning New Zealand's record-breaking temperatures are causing a
surge in the numbers of agricultural pests and ongoing drought, with
predictions the problem is set to get worse.
by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)
show the first half of 2016 is shaping up to be the warmest since
records began in 1909.
findings show every month of the year to June was at least half a
degree more than the average from 1981 to 2010.
impact is being felt widely: many skifields are yet to open and
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced yesterday more
support for drought-afflicted farmers in Northern Canterbury.
forecaster Chris Brandolino. Photo: SUPPLIED
forecaster Chris Brandolino said if the mild conditions continued
until the end of June, temperatures for the last six months would end
up at above 1.3°C degrees above average, making it the warmest first
six months of the year on record.
Brandolino predicted the warmer weather would reverberate throughout
things like that living longer because you don't have the frosts and
the cold snaps like you should have to help kill off those insects,
the pests, things of that nature may persist. I've heard stories of
seeing butterflies flying around and seeing trees in bloom with this
warm weather, particularly in northern part of the North Island.
is a ripple affect with these warmer temperatures."
professor of agribusiness at the University of Waikato Jacqueline
Rowarth warned the primary sector was seeing massive changes due to
the rising temperatures which looked set to continue.
they're not a cool temperature at night we won't get our good
sauvignon flavours, that would be very bad for the wine industry. We
don't get the sugar forming in the kiwifruit if we don't get the
right temperatures and with agriculture, if it's very hot then the
cows suffer in terms of production."
months of March, April and May were the second warmest autumn on
record, and May the warmest May ever.
crops needed a cold period for fruit to form, but that was not
happening, Prof Rowarth said.
said yields could go down meaning less money unless price were put up
Rowarth said Queen wasps were coming out of hibernation early, laying
more eggs and there was more disease and insects in general.
beetle moving south, crickets, those sorts of things. The Waikato
used to be a relatively easy place to grow grass, but we're now
combating all sorts of beetles, weevils and all the difficulties for
farmers which on top of drought mean pasture management's really
Wratten. Photo: SUPPLIED
Wratten is a Professor of Ecology at Lincoln University and principal
investigator at a National Centre of Research Excellence, the
Bio-Protection Research Centre.
Wratten said plants and animals in New Zealand evolved over millions
of years, but the rate of climate change was the fastest that had
ever been recorded and this year's record temperatures were very
or two new pests are going mad that weren't here before. A good
example is the grass grub which is a scarab beetle. For tens of years
its larvae, its maggots has been damaging grasslands, but now the
adults are flying into vineyards in Marlborough, that's never
Wratten said the decrease in the agriculture and horticulture
industries could lead to less available food and higher prices with
the rising temperatures.
things like weed seeds germinating earlier than they would before,
vegetables being ready earlier than they would be before.
people say 'oh well if they're one-offs you can't make a long
connection', but they're not one-offs, it's happening all the time."
said greenhouse gases, an increase in warm northerly winds and warmer
sea surface temperatures were the reasons for the record
every 1 degree C we increase the temperature on the planet we see 7%
more moisture in the atmosphere. We are heading to and beyond
the IPCC worst
case scenario of 6C minimum which will generate another 40% of
moisture in the air.
This will lead to a greater number of flooding
events and increased number of lightning strikes and Tornadoes.
is an enormous amount of energy and associated warming as water
vapour is in itself a green house gas.
impact of climate change may be worse than previously thought, a new
study suggests”: “As
world leaders hold climate talks in Paris, research shows that land
surface temperatures may rise by an average of almost 8C by 2100, if
significant efforts are not made to counteract climate change.”
I disagree with the suggestion that it will take until the magic 2100
for our locked in 8C temperature rise. Factor in the myriad of
feedback loops and we could be there in a few decades,not that humans
will survive that long to bare witness.
amount of water vapor in the atmosphere exists in direct
relation to the temperature. If you increase the temperature, more
water evaporates and becomes vapor, and vice versa. So when something
else causes a temperature increase (such as extra CO2 from
fossil fuels), more water evaporates. Then, since water vapor is
a green house gas, this additional water vapor causes the
temperature to go up even further—a positive feedback.”