Useful links and resources

Useful drought links and information from NIWA and MPI.

NIWA resources and publications

Drought definitions and information

Defining drought and identifying its causes and impacts on humans

Drought as a natural hazard 

Climate Change and Drought Report

NIWA produced this 2011 report for MPI, on the likely effect of climate change on drought in New Zealand:

There is also a 4-page summary of this report:

Climate Maps 

National and regional climate maps, based on data for the period 1981-2010, have been produced for all of New Zealand. These maps include "normal" monthly, seasonal and annual rainfall totals and days of soil moisture deficit.

3-Month Climate Outlooks

Forecasting the onset and termination of drought conditions for New Zealand is a challenge, but NIWA's 3-month climate outlooks do provide a useful probabilistic indication of the risk of below, near or above-normal conditions for the coming three months.

For example, here are the headline statements for the most likely soil moisture levels from the 3-month outlooks from November 2012 to June 2013. While no single outlook is predicting the drought which eventauted, there are frequent indications of the risk of below normal soil moisture levels particularly for the North Island:

Outlook issue date

Headline soil moisture statement

Full report

31 Oct 2012 "Soil moisture levels [for November – January] are likely to be below normal in the north and east of the North Island, near normal or below normal in southwest North Island and in Nelson-Marlborough, and near normal in remaining South Island regions."  SCO Nov 2012 - Jan 2013
28 Nov 2012 "Summer [December – February] soil moisture levels are likely to be below normal in the north and east of the North Island, near normal for the southwest of the North Island and Nelson-Marlborough, and near normal or below normal over the remainder of the South Island." SCO Dec 2012 - Feb 2013
7 Jan 2013 "Late-summer [January – March] soil moisture levels are likely to be below normal or normal in the east of the North Island, and near normal in all other regions of New Zealand." SCO Jan - Mar 2013
1 Feb 2013 "Soil moisture levels [for February – April] are likely to be near normal levels for all of New Zealand for the season as a whole." SCO Feb - Apr 2013
28 Feb 2013 "Soil moisture levels [for March – May] are projected to be normal to below normal for the autumn season as a whole for the North Island, as well as the eastern South Island, and near normal elsewhere." SCO Mar - May 2013
2 Apr 2013 "Soil moisture levels are likely to be below normal for the north of the North Island for late autumn [April – June], and normal or below normal for the remainder of the country." SCO Apr - Jun 2013

Ministry for Primary Industries publications

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has some good information about drought on its website.

Ministry of Primary Industries website

In particular, MPI has a range of publications in their database on coping with drought, including their:

  • Droughts guide booklet;
  • Need help with drought relief? brochure; and 
  • Drought recovery brochure.

Related information 

Stock struggling in hot, dry weather - Te ore ore Bideford Road, Wairarapa. Photograph taken by Dave Allen on 28 Feb 2013.