Climate Summary for February 2010

Hot and dry for most of the country

  • Rainfall: Well below normal rainfall in most areas of New Zealand. A record dry February in Auckland; also very dry in the other main centres.
  • Soil moisture: Severe soil moisture deficits continue in Northland, and have developed in parts of Auckland, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.
  • Temperature: Above average temperatures in most regions of the country, except for near average temperatures in coastal margins of Wairarapa, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago.
  • Sunshine: Extremely sunny over much of the South Island and around Cape Reinga. Quite cloudy in Auckland, Waikato, and Taranaki.

Overall, February 2010 was a very settled month, with more frequent anticyclones (‘highs’) affecting New Zealand than is usual at this time of year. This resulted in an extremely dry and warm February, for many regions of the country. There was a notable lack of unsettled weather during the month. Severe soil moisture deficits continued in Northland during February, and have now developed in parts of Auckland, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.

Well below normal rainfall (less than 50 percent of normal) occurred in many regions of New Zealand. Record low February rainfall totals were observed in Auckland, with less than 10 percent of normal rainfall observed. It was also very dry in the other main centres. In contrast, near normal rainfall was recorded in parts of Southland, Otago, the West Coast; Taranaki, and around Cape Reinga.

Overall, February temperatures were above average (more than 0.5°C above average) across all of New Zealand, except for a narrow coastal margin of near average temperatures, from Wairarapa right down to Invercargill. Regions with well above average temperatures (more than 1.2°C above average) included central Auckland, Coromandel, the western Bay of Plenty, and the Central Plateau region, as well as much of the western South Island. The New Zealand national average temperature was 17.7°C (+0.5°C above the long-term February average).

February was an extremely sunny month over most of the South Island, with sunshine totals well above normal (above 125 percent of normal) in Southland, Otago, parts of Canterbury, parts of the West Coast, and also around Cape Reinga. It was the sunniest February on record for Dunedin and Balclutha. In contrast, it was a rather cloudy month for Auckland, the Waikato, and Taranaki. For the remainder of the country, February sunshine totals were close to normal.

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 35.6°C recorded at Cheviot on the 22nd (2nd highest February temperature at this site). The lowest temperature of 0.5 °C was recorded at Omarama, central Otago, on the 19th (not a record for February).
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 188.4 mm, recorded at Secretary Island, Fiordland, on the 28th (not a record at this site).
  • The highest wind gust in February 2010 was 178 km/hr, recorded at Waipawa on the 15th (not a record).
  • Of the six main centres, Auckland was the driest, Tauranga was the warmest, and Dunedin the sunniest but also the wettest and coolest.

Full report

Full details of the February 2010 Climate Summary

Climate statistics table

Climate statistics for PDF File February 2010

For further information, please contact:

Ms Georgina Griffiths – Climate Scientist– NIWA National Climate Centre, Auckland, Tel. (09) 375 4506 (work) or (027) 2936545 (mobile); or

Dr Andrew Tait – Climate Scientist – NIWA National Climate Centre, Wellington, Tel. (04) 386 0562 (work) or (027) 327 7948 (mobile)