As was signalled in the last two issues in The Climate Update, the present El Niño event has been changing the wind regime across New Zealand. The mean sea level pressure anomaly map below, for August to October, indicates higher than average pressures over eastern Australia and the Tasman Sea, and a higher frequency of southwesterly winds over New Zealand – a characteristic feature of El Niño.
As well as being more southwesterly than usual, on average, winds in some parts of the country have also been stronger than normal this spring. This is highlighted in the figure below for Invercargill Airport. Wind speeds are shown in metres per second (m/s). On average, wind speeds in September and October have been about one m/s faster than normal. Average speeds on the windiest days have exceeded 12 m/s, or 43 km/h.
Current wind information, as displayed above in the figure for Invercargill, is now available on ClimateExplorer. For more information, and to obtain an annual subscription for all routinely updated products, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Examples of ClimateExplorer forecasts
Wellington wind forecast
Wellington Harbour on 26 October
Examples of wind (left top) and rainfall (left bottom) forecasts from ClimateExplorer, issued on 14 and 15 October respectively, that indicated good sailing conditions on Wellington Harbour for 26 October (right).