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NIWA: National Climate Summary - December 2007


National Climate Summary - December 2007

Warm in many regions; severe soil moisture deficits persist in the east and inland areas of the South Island.

* Rainfall: Below normal rainfall in Bay of Plenty, south west of North Island and inland areas of the South Island, very wet start to December in Northland

* Temperature: Above average in the north and west

* Sunshine: Well above average in the south, well below average in the north

December 2007 was characterised by near or below normal rainfall in many regions of New Zealand. Severe soil moisture deficits (more than 130 mm) persisted from November in Marlborough, Canterbury, North and Central Otago, with significant soil moisture deficits (more than 110 mm) occurring in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Wairarapa, Manawatu, and Nelson. The month had a wet start in Northland (with rainfall to the 10th totalling almost 200 mm in the Bay of Islands), followed by more settled conditions. December 2007 temperatures were above average in most northern and western regions, as well as Southland and much of Otago, but near average in the east. The national average temperature of 16.1 ºC was 0.5°C above average. Southland and Otago basked in well above average December sunshine. However, cloudy skies prevailed with near or record low December sunshine hours in parts of Northland, Waikato, and Taranaki. The month's overall climate pattern was produced by more frequent anticyclones east of the South Island with troughs of low pressure over north Tasman Sea, typical of La Niña conditions. This resulted in more frequent dry northeasterlies than usual over New Zealand.

Further Highlights:

The lowest air temperature during the month was -1.7 ºC recorded at Hanmer Forest on the 8th. The highest temperature during December 2007 was 32.8 ºC recorded at Christchurch Airport on the 11th.
Persistent rainfall occurred in Northland, with almost 200 mm in the Bay of Islands between 1-10 December. Periods of persistent heavy rainfall occurred on the West Coast of the South Island, with as much as 560 mm at Franz Josef between 9-17 December and 258 mm at Milford Sound between 23-30 December.
The highest wind gust of the month was 132 km/h from the northwest, recorded at South West Cape on the 30th.
Of the five main centres, Auckland was the warmest, Wellington the wettest, Christchurch the driest and sunniest, and Dunedin the coolest.

Rainfall: In contrast, rainfall was less than 50 percent (half) of normal in eastern Bay of Plenty, and inland South Canterbury, and also below normal in Western Bay of Plenty, north Taranaki, Manawatu, Buller, along the Kaikoura coast, and inland areas of Southland and Otago. In contrast, rainfall was much wetter than usual in Northland, many locations recording 200 percent (twice) or more of normal December rainfall due to an unsettled start to the month. Rainfall was also above normal in Coromandel, Gisborne, and Hawke's Bay.

Temperature: Mean temperatures were at least 0.5 ºC above average in most northern and western regions of New Zealand, as well as Southland and much of Otago, and at least 1.0 ºC above average in parts of Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Buller, Westland, Fiordland, Nelson, and Central Otago. Temperatures were near average in the east from Gisborne to Dunedin, as well as eastern Northland and Wellington.

Sunshine: Sunshine hours were at least 120 percent of normal in Southland and Otago. However, cloudy skies prevailed over the northern half of the North Island. Sunshine hours were also below normal in Gisborne, Wellington, Marlborough, and Nelson.

Rainfall: WELL ABOVE NORMAL IN NORTHLAND, AVERAGE OR BELOW NORMAL IN MOST OTHER REGIONS

In contrast, rainfall was less than 50 percent (half) of normal in eastern Bay of Plenty, and inland South Canterbury, and less than 75 percent (three quarters) of normal in Western Bay of Plenty, north Taranaki, Manawatu, Buller, along the Kaikoura coast, and inland areas of Southland and Otago.

Northland was much wetter than usual, many locations recording 200 percent (twice) or more of normal December rainfall. Rainfall was at least 125 percent (one and a quarter) of normal in Coromandel, Gisborne, and Hawke's Bay.

Near or record high December rainfall was recorded at:

Location December

Rainfall (mm)

Percentage

of normal

Year

records began

Comments
Kerikeri EWS 217 209 1981 2nd highest
Kerikeri Airport 279 232 1978 Highest
Kaikohe 256 245 1973 Highest

Low December rainfall was recorded at:

Location December

Rainfall (mm)

Percentage

of normal

Year

records began

Comments
Whakatane Airport 31 32 1974 3rd lowest
Lake Tekapo 17 35 1925 Well below normal
Tara Hills 18 32 1949 Well below normal

Temperature: ABOVE average IN THE NORTH AnD WEST OF BOTH ISLANDS

Mean temperatures were at least 0.5 ºC above average in most northern and western regions of New Zealand, as well as Southland and much of Otago, and at least 1.0 ºC above average in parts of Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Manawatu, Buller, Westland, Fiordland, Nelson, and Central Otago. Temperatures were near average in the east from Gisborne to Dunedin, as well as eastern Northland and Wellington. The national average temperature of 16.1 ºC was 0.5 °C above average.

Near record high mean air temperatures were recorded at:

Location Mean air

temperature

(ºC)

Departure

from

Normal

Year

Records

began

Comments
Motueka, Riwaka 17.6 +1.4 1956 Equal 3rd highest
Nelson Airport 17.9 +1.5 1943 Equal 2nd highest
Manapouri, West Arm 14.2 +1.3 1996 2nd highest

Sunshine: WELL ABOVE NORMAL IN THE SOUTH, WELL BELOW NORMAL IN THE NORTH

Sunshine hours were well above average, being at least 120 percent of normal, in Southland and Otago. However, cloudy skies prevailed over the northern half of the North Island, with near or record low December sunshine totals in parts of Northland, Waikato, and Taranaki. Sunshine hours were also below normal in Gisborne, Wellington, Marlborough, and Nelson, and near normal elsewhere.

Near or record December sunshine was recorded at:

Location December

Sunshine (hours)

Percentage

of normal

Year

records began

Comments
Kaitaia Airport 140 64 1985 Lowest
Dargaville 134 66 1943 2nd lowest
Ruakura 151 68 1936 2nd lowest
Stratford 148 71 1963 2nd lowest
Invercargill Airport 240 129 1932 Equal 3rd highest

DECEMBER'S CLIMATE IN THE FIVE MAIN CENTRES

Auckland was the warmest, Wellington the wettest, Christchurch the driest and sunniest, and Dunedin the coolest of the five main centres. Rainfall was above normal in Christchurch, below normal in Hamilton, and near normal elsewhere. Temperatures were above normal in Auckland, Hamilton, and Dunedin, and near normal in Wellington and Christchurch. Sunshine hours were below normal in the three North Island main centres, near normal in Christchurch, and well above normal in Dunedin.

December 2007 main centre climate statistics:

Location Dec.

mean

temp.

(°C)

Dep.

from normal

(°C)

  Dec.

rainfall

(mm)

% of

normal

  Dec.

Sunshine

(hours)

% of

normal

 
Auckland 18.6 +0.5 Above normal 82a 90 Near normal 175 84 Below normal
Hamilton 17.8 +1.2 Above normal 73 79 Below normal 151 68 2nd lowest
Wellington 15.3    0.0 Normal 91 106 Near normal 187 c 83 Below normal
Christchurch b 15.9 +0.1 Near normal 54 c 116 Above normal 219 99 Near normal
Dunedin 14.2 +0.3 Above

normal

78 96 Near normal 205 121 Well above normal

a Owairaka / b Christchurch Airport / c 1-day missing

HIGHLIGHTS AND EXTREME EVENTS

Temperature: The lowest air temperature during the month was -1.7 ºC recorded at Hanmer Forest on the 8th. The highest temperature during December 2007 was 32.8 ºC recorded at Christchurch Airport on the 11th.

Near or record high maximum temperatures were recorded in December at:

Location Maximum

temperature

(ºC)

Date Year

Records

began

Comments
Christchurch Airport 32.8 11th 1953 3rd highest
Culverden 32.0 30th 1983 Highest
Wanaka Airport 31.6 8th 1992 Highest

Data in italics are rounded to the nearest whole number

High winds: The highest wind gust of the month was 132 km/h from the northwest, recorded at South West Cape on the 30th.

High rainfall: Periods of persistent heavy rainfall occurred on the West Coast of the South Island, with as much as 560 mm at Franz Josef between 9-17 December and 258 mm at Milford Sound between 23-30 December.

ENDS


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