Three-month outlook

The outlook for August to October 2003

A mild start to spring is expected, with above average temperatures in all North Island districts and in the northern South Island. Temperatures are expected to be average or above average over the rest of the South Island. Despite this, some frosty spells are also expected, especially during the first half of the period.

Local sea surface temperatures are likely to remain above average and local circulation patterns are expected to favour enhanced westerly or northwesterly wind flow. Normal or below normal rainfall is expected in the northern North Island and the east of both Islands. Normal or above normal rainfall is expected in western areas of both Islands.

Below normal soil moisture levels and flows are predicted for the east coast of the South Island. Normal or below normal soil moisture levels and flows are predicted for the north and east of the North Island, but normal or above normal conditions are predicted for the west of the South Island.

The tropical Pacific has moved into a neutral state and is likely to remain neutral (no El Niño or La Niña) until the end of 2003.

A. Climate models give no strong signals about how the climate will evolve, so we assume that there is an equal chance (33%) of the climate occurring in the range of the upper, middle or lower third (tercile) of all previously observed conditions.

B. There is a relatively strong indication by the models (60% chance of occurrence) that conditions will be below average, but, given the variable nature of climate, the chance of average or above-average conditions is also shown (30% and 10% respectively).