Climate Update 56 - February 2004

February

Climate

River flows

Soil moisture

Three-month outlook

Checkpoint

Backgrounder

Backgrounder

Backgrounder
Managing the end of a drought is an annual challenge for many New Zealand farmers. While no two droughts are identical, historical drought information, aided by astute reading of current climate behaviour, can help ease the way through the eventual end to the dry conditions.

Drought devastated brassica crop.

Checkpoint

Outlook and outcome – November 2003 to January 2004
Rainfall was higher than predicted in parts of the east and centre of the North Island, and lower than predicted in the east of the South Island and in parts of Northland.
Air temperatures were average or above average as predicted in many areas, and higher than predicted in parts of the west of the North Island.
River flows were normal or above normal in the North Island apart from Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and East Cape where they were normal or below normal.

February

Climate Update is a summary each month of New Zealand's climate, including soil moisture and river flows.
February 2004 – Number 56
January’s climate: High temperatures, especially in the east. Dry conditions for much of the month in the east and south of the South Island.

Climate

New Zealand Climate
Warm summer continues
Mean temperatures were above normal over much of New Zealand. The national average temperature of 18.3 °C was 1.2 °C above normal, the warmest since January 1999, and the eleventh warmest January since reliable measurements began in the 1850s.
The highest maximum temperature for the month, 38.4 °C, was recorded at Darfield on 1 January, the equal highest January temperature on record for the South Island.

River flows

New Zealand river flows
High river flows in parts of the North Island
January streamflows were above normal in the east and south of the North Island, and varied from below to above normal in the rest of the North Island. January streamflows were below normal in the north, east, and south of the South Island, and normal to above normal in the west of the South Island.

Soil moisture

Soil moisture
Soil moisture deficit reduced in some areas
Moisture deficits in Northland and the southern North Island were lower at the end of January in comparison to the beginning of the month. There was some relief for dry soils in Nelson, mid Canterbury, south Canterbury, North Otago, and parts of Southland.