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Signs of Summer

Issued at 03:44pm 02-Dec-2003
Signs of summer

There are natural signs around the country that summer is here. Some cicadas are being heard and pohutukawa blossoms are appearing. The cabbage trees between Horowhenua and Marlborough have been flowering prolifically. This is called a "mast seeding" and seems to only occur when the right conditions come together.

The recent episode of fine dry weather brought day-time high temperatures in some places up to around 30 degrees. MetService meteorologists are expecting that conditions are right this summer for more of these episodes, lasting three to four days, brought by high pressure systems moving slowly across the Tasman Sea.

"The longest day this year is on Monday 22 December, and the hottest days usually follow about six weeks later, around Waitangi Day," commented MetService weather ambassador. Bob McDavitt. "However the sea surface temperatures around New Zealand are cooler than normal and this may help to keep the nights cool."

McDavitt also expect several windy episodes over the next few weeks. "Low pressure systems in the southern ocean have recently been deeper than normal and if the trend continues then we can expect more blasts of northwest wind. The next blast is expected over the South Island on Thursday and Friday."

NIWA Research Scientist, Darren King, has been studying traditional Maori knowledge of the natural indicators of climate (nga tohu ahuarangi). "Bright and heavy flowering in pohutukawa is a sign, based on centuries of observations, of a long dry summer," commented Mr.King. "That was exactly what happened last year in the East Coast, but this year's pohutukawa flowering is, so far, not as strong around Auckland as it was last year."

ENDS

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