By NICK PERRY
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The southern winter that just ended in New Zealand was the warmest ever recorded, and scientists say climate change is driving temperatures ever higher. For the three months through August, the average temperature was 9.8 Celsius (50 Fahrenheit), according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. That’s 1.3C above the long-term average and 0.2C higher than the previous record, posted last year. Scientists have been keeping records since 1909, but most of the warmest winters have been recent. On top of a background of global warming, scientists say this year there were more warm winds than usual from the north and warmer sea temperatures in New Zealand.