Kiwis brave enough to take a dip recently may have been pleasantly surprised, with surface water in the Tasman Sea several degrees above average in the past week.
Off Northland’s Tutukaka Coast, divers have been treated to warmer than normal sea temperatures, enjoying the abundance of sea life the coast offers.
1 NEWS Meteorologist Dan Corbett says last year’s marine heatwave has kept the waters warmer.
“Over the winter we didn't get wind coming from the cold direction, so the water did cool off but it didn’t cool off that much,” he says.
The recent fine weather could also have warmed surface temperatures.
The effects of the warmer water have also had a positive impact on snapper breeding.
But many species are unable to cope with even the slightest shift in their environment.
Last year, the sea surface temperatures in the Southern Tasman sea broke records.
Warmer water also takes up more space and contributes to sea level rise.
‘We're going to see water temperatures warmer than normal going into the next few months and in some places dryer than normal if El Niño comes to the party," says Corbett.