New Zealand Climate Update 163 – January 2013

What happened in December, how our climate outlook for the previous three months turned out, global and local sea temperatures, and our outlook for January to March. 

Current Climate - December 2012

It was a warm month, with more frequent northerly and northwest winds than usual affecting New Zealand. On 6 December, a tornado struck west Auckland and the North Shore. The wind brought down trees and flung them over the motorway, along with panels ripped from beside the motorway. Three people were killed by falling slabs of concrete at a construction site. 

Global Setting – December 2012

The equatorial Pacific Ocean reflects ENSO-neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña). Global guidance indicates that these neutral conditions are very likely to persist into the Southern Hemisphere autumn. For the New Zealand region over the coming three months (January-March 2013), lower than normal pressures are expected in the south Tasman Sea and to the southeast of the Chatham Islands, with enhanced south-westerly winds over the country. 

Outlook - January to March 2013

ENSO-neutral conditions are very likely to persist into the Southern Hemisphere autumn. For the January-March period, lower than normal pressures are expected in the south Tasman and to the southeast of the Chatham Islands, with enhanced south-westerly winds over New Zealand. January-March temperatures are likely to be near average or below average in the west of the North Island, and near average in all other regions.