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National Climate Summary – Winter 2006


National Climate Summary – Winter 2006

Winter 2006: Wild in the lower North Island, exceptional snowstorms in the east of the South Island, but quite benign in the north of both islands. New high sunshine records in places.

• Rainfall: Wet in the southern half of the North Island, especially Wanganui, Wairarapa, and Wellington; relatively dry in the north of both islands, and Otago

• Sunshine: Extremely sunny for winter with record winter sunshine in parts of the north and west of the North Island and the southeast of the South Island

• Temperature: Below normal in the north and west of the North Island, Buller, South Canterbury and east Otago; near normal elsewhere

This was a winter of extremes in parts of New Zealand, with exceptional snowstorms in the east of the South Island, significant snowfall also in the central North Island, severe floods and landslips in the lower North Island, and damaging winds. In contrast it was also very sunny in many areas and dry in the north of both islands and Otago.

Winter rainfall was at least 150 percent (one and a half) of normal in Wanganui and Wairarapa, and parts of Wellington (including Kapiti). Soil moisture in these regions was already at field capacity (nearly saturated) at the start of June. In contrast, winter rainfall was only about 50 percent (half) of normal in parts of Northland and Otago, and below normal in Thames-Coromandel, Western Bay of Plenty, much of Auckland, Nelson, and much of Marlborough. The national average winter temperature of 8.1 °C was close to normal, being 0.2°C below average.

This was lowest since 1997, as many recent winters have been much warmer than normal. Seasonal mean temperatures were below normal throughout much of the north and west of the North Island from Northland to Horowhenua, as well as Buller, South Canterbury and Otago, but near normal elsewhere. This winter was also unusual because June was an exceptionally cold month, the coldest month of the winter. Temperatures, for New Zealand as a whole, were above or near normal for the remainder of winter. Sunshine hours for winter were extremely high in the north and west of the North Island from Northland to Wellington, and in the east of the South Island from inland South Canterbury to Southland, with some centres recording their sunniest winter on record. The overall winter climate pattern was dominated by more frequent anticyclones (‘highs’) than usual in the Australian Bight, often extending into Tasman Sea. This pattern produced frequent southerly winds over the North Island and southwesterlies over southern New Zealand.


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