Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

NIWA's Hotspot Watch

A weekly update describing soil moisture patterns across the country to show where dry to extremely dry conditions are occurring or imminent. Regions experiencing significant soil moisture deficits are deemed “hotspots”. Persistent hotspot regions have the potential to develop into drought.

Facts: Soil Moisture

In the North Island, heavy rain in excess of 100 mm was observed during the past week in Wairarapa, with other parts of Wellington seeing 50 mm or more. Other areas including coastal Gisborne to Tararua and Taranaki to northern Manawatu-Whanganui received 30 mm or more.

Conversely, generally meagre rainfall was observed in the upper North Island. This rainfall resulted in massive soil moisture increases in the lower North Island and moderate increases along much of the east coast. Meanwhile, small soil moisture decreases occurred in the upper North Island, although decreases in the Far North were more substantial. The driest soils across the North Island, when compared to normal for this time of the year, are located in the Coromandel Peninsula and a small portion of Central Hawke’s Bay. Meanwhile, the wettest soils for this time of the year are located in Wairarapa. The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that severe meteorological drought coverage has again receded significantly in the past week, although it is still widespread in the Coromandel Peninsula. Meteorological drought remains in place across parts of Northland, Auckland, northern Waikato, and East Cape (see NZDI map at bottom).

Hotspot coverage decreased substantially in the past week in the lower North Island, but hotspots still remain across parts of the Far North, Auckland, much of the Coromandel Peninsula, southern Hastings, Central Hawke’s Bay, and parts of coastal Manawatu-Whanganui.

In the South Island during the past week, heavy rainfall of 50 mm or more occurred in northern and central Canterbury along with Marlborough Sounds. Moderate rainfall also occurred along much of the West Coast, although minimal rainfall was observed in Tasman and the lower South Island. This resulted in significant soil moisture increases across much of Marlborough and Canterbury.

However, slight soil moisture decreases occurred along the West Coast and the lower South Island.

The driest soils in the South Island compared to normal for this time of the year are located in Nelson and nearby parts of Tasman, while the wettest soils for this time of the year are found in Kaikoura. The NZDI shows that meteorological drought has completely dissipated across the upper South Island, although widespread dry soils are still present (see NZDI map at bottom).

Current hotspots in the South Island are found in Nelson and nearby parts of Tasman, as well as a small portion of interior Selwyn District. 

Outlook and Soil Moisture 

In the North Island, high pressure will bring mostly dry weather over the next several days. However, an onshore wind flow through the upcoming weekend (4-5 April) may produce up to 10 mm across Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay. The only chance for notable widespread rainfall will occur next Wednesday (8 April), as a passing front may produce 5-10 mm for much of the North Island.

Generally light rainfall amounts across a majority of the North Island during the next week will likely result in soil moisture decreases in many locations, with most existing hotspots strengthening and expanding at least slightly.

In the South Island, high pressure will produce dry weather through at least Saturday (4 April).

Beginning on Sunday a front will deliver moderate to heavy rain to the West Coast, and by Tuesday (7 April) some rain may cross into northern, eastern, and lower portions of the South Island as well.

Total weekly rainfall may exceed 75 mm in much of the West Coast, 15-25 mm in northern areas, 20-30 mm in the lower South Island, and 15 mm or less in much of Canterbury.

While weekly rainfall may result in little change or even slight increases in soil moisture levels for many locations, in much of Canterbury soils are likely to dry at least slightly. This could result in an expansion of the hotspot currently located in interior Selwyn District.

Background:

Hotspot Watch: a weekly advisory service for New Zealand media. It provides soil moisture and precipitation measurements around the country to help assess whether extremely dry conditions are imminent.

Soil moisture deficit: the amount of water needed to bring the soil moisture content back to field capacity, which is the maximum amount of water the soil can hold.

Soil moisture anomaly: the difference between the historical normal soil moisture deficit (or surplus) for a given time of year and actual soil moisture deficits.

Definitions: “Extremely” and “severely” dry soils are based on a combination of the current soil moisture status and the difference from normal soil moisture (see soil moisture maps at https://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/nz-drought-monitor/droughtindicatormaps)

Hotspot: A hotspot is declared if soils are "severely drier than normal" which occurs when Soil Moisture Deficit (SMD) is less than -110 mm AND the Soil Moisture Anomaly is less than -20 mm.

As of 30 March, the New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) map below shows that severe meteorological drought and meteorological drought have both receded significantly in the North Island, although the Coromandel Peninsula remains heavily affected. In the South Island, meteorological drought and severe meteorological drought have both completely dissipated. This difference exists because the NZDI uses additional dryness indices, including one which integrates the rainfall deficit over the past 60 days. Changes are therefore slower to appear in the NZDI compared to soil moisture anomaly maps that are instantaneously updated.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Science Media Centre: Funding For R&D In New Zealand – Expert Reaction

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods has today announced $401.3 million funding for research and development through Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund. The fund includes $150 million for an R&D loan scheme, ... More>>

ALSO:

Maritime NZ: NZ Joins Global Initiative Keeping Ports Open And Freight Moving

New Zealand has joined an international port authorities’ global initiative for safe and efficient movement of goods and shipping during the COVID-19 crisis. World-wide, 56 port authorities have agreed how they will work together facilitating maritime ... More>>

ALSO:

National: National Backs Businesses With $10k JobStart

National will provide a $10,000 cash payment to businesses that hire additional staff as part of our commitment to keeping New Zealanders in jobs, National Party Leader Todd Muller and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith have announced. Our JobStart ... More>>

ALSO:

DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>

ALSO:

Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>

ALSO:

ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>

ALSO:

Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>

ALSO:

Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>

ALSO:



New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>

ALSO:


Science Media Centre: Understanding 5G Concerns – Expert Q&A


Recent attacks on cell phone towers have brought concerns over the rollout of 5G technology into sharp relief.
While scientific research has consistently shown that the technology does not adversely affect human health, public concerns about its impact have spread around the world, fueled in part by growing misinformation online. The SMC asked experts to comment... More>>

ALSO:


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>

ALSO:


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Milestone In Cash Flow Support To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>

ALSO: