Retrospective: January-March 2016 Outlook

During January-March 2016, above normal pressure was forecast to the north of New Zealand, while below normal pressure was expected to the south of the country.  This circulation pattern was likely to be accompanied by anomalous westerly wind flows – a signature consistent with El Niño.

Actual pressures were above normal over and to the east of New Zealand. This pressure set-up resulted in north-easterly flow anomalies over the North Island and north-westerly flow anomalies over the South Island.

Predicted air temperature: January - March 2016 temperatures were most likely to be above average for the east of the North Island.  Temperatures were about equally likely to be near average or above average for all remaining regions of the country.

Outcome: Actual seasonal temperatures were above average for virtually the entire country with the exception of Stuart Island where seasonal temperature was near average. Temperature anomalies in excess of 2°C above normal were recorded at several locations in the central North Island.

Predicted rainfall: January - March 2016 rainfall was most likely to be below normal for the north of the North Island. Seasonal rainfall totals were about equally likely to be near normal or below normal for the remaining regions of the North Island and the north and east of the South Island. January - March 2016 rainfall was most likely to be above normal for the west of the South Island.

Outcome: Actual rainfall was above normal in several districts including: The Far North, Auckland, Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki as well as the Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough regions. Conversely, seasonal rainfall was below normal from Central Hawkes Bay south through to Wellington

Weather station. [NIWA]