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Scientists swim for solstice

NIWA’s Wellington scientists marked today’s winter solstice with a chilly dip in Evans Bay.

About 20 hardy boffins leapt into the sea to mark the day New Zealand has the shortest amount of daylight.

The Southern Hemisphere winter solstice officially occurs at 10.07pm today - the time at which the sun’s zenith reaches its northernmost point and shines directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5º north latitude in the Northern Hemisphere.

The North Pole will have 24 hours of daylight or “midnight sun.” Conversely, there is no sunlight at all south of the Antarctic Circle.

The good news is that the amount of daylight starts increasing from tomorrow until the summer solstice in December.

And if you’re in Invercargill you’ll get just 8:35:01 daylight hours today. The time lengthens the further north you go, with people in Kerikeri experiencing 9.46:43 hours.

Daylight times in other centres today include:
Dunedin 8.39.13
Christchurch 8.56:23
Wellington 9.11.24
Hamilton 9.32:37
Tauranga9.33:13
Auckland 9.37:55
NIWA meterologist Ben Noll says this year’s solstice comes with a proper serving of winter.

“A ridge of high pressure is moving onto New Zealand today and into Friday, leading to brightening skies in many towns, although temperatures will be colder than average.”

Mr Noll said temperatures will tumble further in the North Island on Saturday.
Temperatures in the upper North Island will drop into the low single digits overnight, with Auckland dropping below 5C, and potential frosts further south.
Waikato and the central plateau could drop below 0C.

In the South Island temperatures will range from -5C to 0C, even on the coast.

"It is going to be a fresh one," Mr Noll said.

Temperatures will warm slightly on Sunday before a front on Monday and Tuesday ushers in an even sharper cold snap.

"The last few days of June and early July are going to be well and truly winter. The silver lining, though, is it is all downhill from here."

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