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National Climate Summary ¡V Winter 2005

5 September 2005

National Climate Summary ¡V Winter 2005

- One of the warmest, very dry in parts, sunny and a relatively settled winter
- Rainfall: Extremely low in the east from Wairarapa to Otago, including Wellington
- Soil moisture: Moderate deficits in parts of south Canterbury and north Otago
- Temperature: Above average throughout much of the South Island and the north and west of the North Island; near average elsewhere
- Sunshine: Rather sunny in the far north and south

Winter was warmer, drier, rather settled, and sunny in many regions. Although June was the coldest in more than a decade with frequent southerly winds, both July and August were unusually mild, with more north westerly winds. Dunedin recorded it sunniest winter ever in over 50 years, and Lincoln (in Canterbury) recorded its driest winter in more than 120 years of records.

It was the sixth warmest winter in reliable records dating back to the mid 1860s with a national average temperature of 9.1 ¢XC, 0.7 ¢XC above normal. Only the winters of 1984 and 2000 (9.2 ¢XC), and 1971, 1988, and 1998 (all 9.1 ¢XC) were warmer. Seasonal rainfall was well below average throughout much of New Zealand, especially in coastal areas of Canterbury and north Otago where totals were less than 25 percent (quarter) of normal. The dryness has resulted in significant soil moisture deficits for the end of August developing in parts of south Canterbury and north Otago. Sunshine hours were well above average in parts of Northland, inland South Canterbury, and Otago, and also above average in most North Island regions. The overall winter climate pattern was dominated by more frequent northwesterlies over the South Island, and more frequent anticyclones (¡¥highs¡¦) over the North Island.

Major Highlights:

„h The highest temperatures during winter 2005 were 25.1 ¢XC recorded at Hanmer Forest on 30 August, and 25.4 C recorded in Amberley on 31 August, both exceeding the previous all-time New Zealand maximum temperature record for August.
„h The lowest temperature for the season was -8.6¢XC, recorded at Middlemarch on 16 June.
„h There were at least eight major rainfall events ¡V three with flooding, all occurring between 17 June and 19 July.
„h Damaging winds occurred on June 1 near Rotorua toppled trees cutting electricity. On 25 June, at least three tornados hit southeastern parts of Auckland, resulting in fallen trees.
„h Only two periods of significant snowfall occurred. Over 2-3 June snow fell in Otago and Southland, and in the central North Island. Over 25-26 June, snow fall on the North Island Desert Road.

Of the four main centres Auckland was the warmest, wettest, and sunniest, while Christchurch was the coldest and driest. Rainfall was below average and temperatures above average in all four main centres. Winter sunshine hours were the highest on record for Dunedin, and they were also above average in Auckland and Wellington. Near average winter sunshine hours were observed in Christchurch.

Temperature: Seasonal mean temperatures were above average throughout Auckland, Coromandel, and the west of the North Island from Taranaki to Wellington, as well as southern Wairarapa and most South Island regions. They were more than 1.0 ¢XC above average in north Canterbury and Nelson. Temperatures were near average in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke¡¦s Bay, south Canterbury, and parts of Fiordland.
Rainfall: Winter rainfall was less than 50 percent (half) of normal throughout Canterbury and Otago, as well as Horowhenua, southern Wairarapa and Wellington, some coastal areas in Canterbury and north Otago recording less than 25 percent (quarter) of normal winter rainfall. Rainfall was also below average throughout most central and western North Island and northern South Island regions.
Sunshine: Sunshine hours were at least 120 percent of average in parts of Northland, inland South Canterbury, and Otago. They were also above average in most other North Island regions.

For further information, please contact:
Dr Jim Salinger ¡V Principal Scientist ¡V Climate, NIWA National Climate Centre, Auckland,
Tel. (09) 375 2053, or (027) 521 9468 (mobile)
Stuart Burgess ¡V Climatologist ¡V NIWA National Climate Centre, Wellington, Tel. (04) 386 0569

ABOVE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES THROUGHOUT MUCH OF THE SOUTH ISLAND AND IN THE NORTH AND WEST OF THE NORTH ISLAND

Seasonal mean temperatures were at least 0.5 ¢XC above average throughout Auckland, Coromandel, and the west of the North Island from Taranaki to Wellington, as well as southern Wairarapa and most South Island regions. The largest anomalies, more than 1.0 ¢XC above average, occurred in north Canterbury and Nelson. Winter temperatures were near average in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke¡¦s Bay, south Canterbury, and parts of Fiordland.

Near or record high winter mean air temperatures were recorded at:

Location Mean temperature Departure from average (¢XC) Records
Began Comments
Motu 7.3 +1.3 1991 2nd highest
Pukekohe 11.5 +1.1 1970 3rd highest
Wellington, Kelburn 9.9 +0.7 1928 Well above average
Wallaceville 9.1 +0.9 1940 3rd equal highest
Wanganui, Spriggens Park 10.8 +1.0 1937 Well above average
Takaka 9.0 +1.0 1986 3rd highest
Farewell Spit 11.1 +1.6 1971 3rd highest
Puysegur Point 9.3 +0.9 1978 Equal highest
Nelson Airport 8.7 +1.1 1943 Well above average
Blenheim Research 9.3 +1.3 1932 2nd highest
Blenheim Airport 8.5 +0.9 1941 2nd equal highest
Hanmer Forest 6.1 +1.3 1906 Well above average
Lincoln 7.7 +1.2 1881 Well above average
Tara Hills 4.1 +1.4 1950 3rd equal highest
Dunedin, Musselburgh 7.8 +0.8 1947 Well above average
Invercargill Airport 6.7 +0.9 1948 2nd highest
Tiwai Point 7.6 +0.9 1970 2nd equal highest
Campbell Island 5.8 +0.8 1941 2nd equal highest


EXTREMELY LOW WINTER RAINFALL IN THE EAST FROM WAIRARAPA TO OTAGO, INCLUDING WELLINGTON

Rainfall was less than 50 percent (half) of normal throughout Canterbury and Otago, as well as Horowhenua, southern Wairarapa and Wellington, some coastal areas in Canterbury and north Otago recording less than 25 percent (quarter) of normal winter rainfall. Rainfall was also below average (less than 75 percent of normal) throughout most central and western North Island and northern South Island regions. Winter rainfall totals were near normal in Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Gisborne, Hawke¡¦s Bay, Westland, Fiordland, and Southland.


Near or record low winter rainfall was recorded at:

Location Winter 2005
rainfall
(mm) Percentage
of normal Year
Records began Comments
East Taratahi 163 49 1972 3rd lowest
Martinborough 121 45 2001 Lowest
Ngawi 178 50 1988 Lowest
Wellington, Kelburn 192 47 1862 Lowest since 1959
Wellington Airport 179 56 1960 3rd lowest
Wallaceville 187 46 1924 3rd lowest
Blenheim Airport 119 58 1941 3rd lowest, lowest since 1969
Hanmer Forest 114 33 1905 3rd lowest, lowest since 1958
Winchmore 61 30 1947 Lowest
Darfield 69 30 1920 Equal lowest
Christchurch Airport 62 31 1944 3rd lowest
Lincoln 47 23 1881 Lowest
Le Bons Bay 86 26 1984 Lowest
Timaru Airport 44 36 1957 Well below average
Oamaru Airport 29 22 1941 3rd lowest
Wanaka Airport 102 58 1992 2nd lowest
Ranfurly 31 39 1975 2nd lowest
Middlemarch 30 32 1916 Lowest since 1967
Dunedin Airport 58 37 1963 2nd lowest, lowest since 1967
Dunedin, Musselburgh 84 40 1918 3rd lowest, lowest since 1959
Clyde 38 42 1983 Lowest

VERY SUNNY IN THE FAR NORTH AND SOUTH, NEAR AVERAGE ELSEWHERE

Sunshine hours were at least 120 percent of average in parts of Northland, inland South Canterbury, and Otago, and at least 110 percent of average in most North Island regions. Totals were near average elsewhere.

High winter sunshine was recorded at:

Location Winter 2005
sunshine
(hours) Percentage
Of normal Year
Records began Comments
Dargaville 447 133 1943 Highest
Auckland, Mangere 466 121 1963 3rd highest
Palmerston North 383 126 1930 Well above average
Tekapo 467 131 1928 Well above average
Dunedin, Musselburgh 423 140 1948 Highest


WINTER CLIMATE IN THE FOUR MAIN CENTRES

Of the four main centres Auckland was the warmest, wettest, and sunniest, while Christchurch was the coldest and driest. Rainfall was below average and temperatures above average in all four main centres. Winter sunshine hours were the highest on record for Dunedin, and they were also above average in Auckland and Wellington. Near average winter sunshine hours were observed in Christchurch.


Location Winter
Mean
Temp.
(¢XC) Dep.
from normal
(¢XC) Winter
rainfall
(mm) % of
normal Winter Sunshine
(hours) % of
normal
Auckland 12.0a +0.7 Above average 351b 86 Below average 466a 121 Well above average

Wellington 9.9 +0.7 Well above average 192 47 Well below average 388 111 Above average
Christchurch 7.0c +0.6 Above average 62c 31 Well below average 402 103 Near average
Dunedin 7.8 +0.8 Well above average 84 40 Well below average 423 140 Record high
a Mangere b Mt Albert c Christchurch Airport


HIGHLIGHTS AND EXTREME EVENTS

„h Temperature
The highest temperatures during winter 2005 were 25.1 ¢XC recorded at Hanmer Forest on 30 August, and 25.4 ¢XC recorded in Amberley on 31 August, both exceeding the previous all-time New Zealand maximum temperature record for August. The lowest temperature for the season was -8.6¢XC, recorded at Middlemarch on 16 June.

„h High rainfall and/or flooding
17 June: Rainfall totalling 50 to 90 mm occurred in the Bay of Islands, western Nelson, and South Westland.
24 June: Rainfall totalling about 70 mm occurred in Whitianga.
28 June: Rainfall totalling 65-90 mm occurred in South Westland and Fiordland, and western Southland.
4-6 July: High rainfall totalling 130 ¡V 215 mm occurred in inland and eastern parts of Northland, with some flooding, and several schools closed.
10 July: Surface flooding occurred near and about Matata, Bay of Plenty, after heavy rainfall, with truck drivers having to be rescued.
17 July: High rainfall totalling 160 - 170 mm occurred in the high country of southern Coromandel and western Bay of Plenty, with a washout near Pauanui, north of Whangamata. The rainfall was accompanied by severe electrical storms from Northland to Thames, with some places recording 200 lightning strikes in an hour.
18 July: Rainfall totalling 80-90 mm occurred in Golden Bay and western Nelson.
19 July: Isolated, but heavy rainfall (about 100 mm), occurred in the Kakanui Range (north Otago) causing the Kakanui River to reach its highest flood level since January 2002.

„h High winds, rough seas, and tornadoes
1 June: Damaging winds, attributed to a tornado, toppled trees ¡V cutting electricity to over 1000 homes near Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua.
11-12 June: A couple (one person was injured) and their yacht were caught in a severe storm in high winds and 7 to 8 metre swells about 750 km north of New Zealand. They were safely rescued and brought back to New Zealand.
25 June: At least three tornados hit southeastern parts of Auckland, resulting in fallen trees (trapping several people), and surface flooding.

„h The highest wind gust for the winter was 154 km/h from the northwest, recorded at South West Cape on 19 August.

„h Snowfall
2-3 June: Several Otago and Southland roads were closed by snow on 2-3 June, with sleet and hail elsewhere in the region. As much as 15 cm of snowfall lay in parts of eastern Southland, with lesser amounts in the Catlins and along the South Otago coast, including the motorway north of Dunedin. Several central North Island roads were also closed due to snowfall, about 20 cars and two trucks being trapped in the snow. The Desert Road was closed by ice on 5 June.

25-26 June: Snow fall on the North Island Desert Road, and on the Orongorongo Ranges east of Wellington


ENDS

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