'Seven-station' series temperature data

NIWA's long-running 'seven-station' series shows NZ's average annual temperature has increased by about 1 °C over the past 100 years.

 



Locations in the "seven station" series

The series has been derived from seven locations:

  • Auckland
  • Masterton
  • Wellington
  • Hokitika
  • Nelson
  • Lincoln
  • Dunedin


These locations were chosen because they provide broad geographical coverage and long records (with measurements started at all sites by 1908).

How the 'seven-station' series is constructed

For each location, temperature records from a number of local sites have been merged together to form a long time series. When merging different temperature records like this, it is necessary to adjust for climatic differences from place-to-place, or even changes in exposure or instrumentation at the same site. If no adjustments are made, significant biases could be introduced. For example, the longest record in the country comes from Dunedin, with climate readings taken at six sites throughout its history.

Learn more about why climate data sometimes need to be adjusted

Our new analysis confirms the warming trend

The last overall review of the seven station adjustments was performed in 1992. In 2010, as a result of increased interest in the series, NIWA re-analysed the adjustments for the seven locations.

The key result of this revisiting is that the New Zealand-wide warming trend is almost exactly the same as in our previous assessment. In other words, either approach gives an accurate trend result. So without a doubt, on the basis of the 'seven-station' series, New Zealand did indeed get about 0.9°C warmer over the course of last one hundred years.

Download the original (right click and save as)

 

 


The pattern of warming is also consistent with changes in sea surface temperature and prevailing winds.

 

In terms of the detail, the re-analysis concluded that some sites have warmed more than previously calculated, and other sites warmed less, but these variations between the old and new series are within the margin of error.

The overview document below discusses the revision of the 'seven-station' series in more detail.

Summary of NIWA’s “Seven-Station” Temperature Series, December 2010 (PDF 293 KB)

The adjusted data

The spreadsheet below contains the adjusted data used to compile the 'seven-station' series.

NIWA 'seven-station' temperature series: annual data for mean temperature (XLS 33 KB)

In this file, you will find: 

  • annual average temperature for each location, and for the 7 locations combined
  • annual anomaly (difference from the 1971-2000 average) for each location, and for the 7 locations combined.

Schedule of adjustments

NIWA has documented its analysis for each of the 7 locations, including all the station offsets used to merge temperature records for each place.

More information about the offsets

Scientific references about the temperature series adjustment process, and the internationally accepted best practice approaches to adjusting raw climate data to accurately calculate temperature trends, can be found here.

References

Download a combined report

A PDF is available here which includes the overview and the reports for each of the seven stations. Each of these documents is available separately by following the other links on this page.

Report on the Review of NIWA’s ‘Seven-Station’ Temperature Series

Changes to this page

Over time NIWA has added new material to this section and refined the way that it is presented. For transparency these changes are detailed here.

More information on changes