In February last year, the weather office recorded a high of 33.6 degrees Celsius, which equaled the 2010 record temperature reading for Rarotonga.
Meteorological Service director Arona Ngari said a comparison with data collected in 2010 indicated 2015 and 2016 could be considered “extreme” weather years, especially as far as temperatures were concerned.
“There was a global concern (among weather scientists) that last year would be warmer than usual and our part of the world was caught by a dry period that was enhanced by the El Nino we experienced through last year,” Ngari said.
“However the expectancy of a cyclone or two did not eventuate. Normally an El Nino would indicate a higher risk for the Cook Islands as far as tropical cyclones are concerned.”
Ngari said the Met Office had also recorded a lot of moisture throughout 2016 which had helped push the temperatures up.
The long term mean temperature was also on the rise, indicating some hot and muggy days ahead.
Weather statistics for 2015 and 2016 were almost identical, with 2015 slightly hotter than last year, Ngari added.
“It’s been warmer for the past few months because of the prolonged heat wave that was generated over much of the globe.”
Ngari said neighbouring countries in the South Pacific had also experienced warmer weather over the last couple of years.
Last year was New Zealand’s hottest since records began more than 100 years ago.
According to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), seven months of 2016 recorded above average temperatures in New Zealand.
International climate agencies have also already confirmed last year was the warmest on record, globally.