Climate Update 55 - January 2004

January

Climate

River flows

Soil moisture

Three-month outlook

Checkpoint

Backgrounder

Backgrounder

Backgrounder
Climate ‘normals’ for 1971–2000 are now available on the National Climate Database. The word normal is typically associated with something that is common or happens every day, but in climatology it has a meaning that is quite specific.

Monthly normal rainfall data for a selection of east coast North Island stations.

Checkpoint

Outlook and outcome – October 2003 to December 2003
Rainfall: the South Island was drier than expected and, it was wetter than expected in parts of the east of the North Island.
December was warmer than average in many places, but October and November temperatures were generally below average. As a result mean temperatures for the three months as a whole were lower than predicted.
River flows were expected to be normal or above normal in most locations, but normal or below normal in the east of the South Island.

January

Climate Update is a summary each month of New Zealand's climate, including soil moisture and river flows.
January 2004 – Number 55
December’s climate: December was exceptionally dry along the east coast of the South Island.

Climate

New Zealand Climate
Warm in most areas
Mean temperatures were at least 1.0 °C above average in parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Marlborough, and Central Otago. It was also warmer than usual in Coromandel and central Hawke’s Bay, but cooler than average in parts of Westland and Fiordland.

Three-month outlook

The outlook for January 2004 to March 2004
Normal or below normal rainfall is expected in most regions, with normal rainfall in the west of the North Island, and the west and south of the South Island.
Average or above average temperatures are likely in eastern areas, with average temperatures expected for the rest of the country.
Soil moisture levels and river flows are predicted to be below normal in the east and in Nelson–Marlborough, and normal or below normal in the north of the North Island.

River flows

New Zealand river flows
Streamflows extremely low in the north, east, and south of the South Island
December streamflows were below normal in Northland, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Wairarapa, and in the north, east, and south of the South Island. Streamflows were near normal around Auckland, East Cape, and in the west of the South Island, and above normal in the central North Island, Taranaki, and Hawke’s Bay.

Soil moisture

Soil moisture
Dry soils extending into the deep south
Soils in the eastern South Island continued to be drier than normal through December, and abnormally dry conditions extended further into Southland during the month.