Seasonal Climate Outlook: June - August 2010

Mild conditions likely to continue through winter.

The NIWA National Climate Centre outlook for winter 2010 says that mean temperatures are likely to be above average for the time of year across most of the country. However, short-term cold snaps and frosty periods typical of winter will still occur.

The El Niño conditions that prevailed since winter 2009 have dissipated, and the equatorial Pacific is now in a neutral state. Recent trends suggest a La Niña could develop by early spring.

Near normal seasonal rainfalls are likely in most places, but the Centre says that the southwest of the North Island (southern Taranaki, Manawatu, Horowhenua through to Wellington) is likely to experience normal or below normal rainfalls.

For winter 2010, normal or below normal soil moisture levels and stream flows are likely in the north and west of the North Island, but over the rest of New Zealand near-normal conditions are the most likely outcome.
The centre’s latest outlook states that mean sea level pressures are likely to be higher than normal over the North Island, associated with somewhat stronger than normal westerlies over the South Island, on average for June-August.


Overall Picture

Temperature:

Winter temperatures are likely to be above average over most of the country, but average or above average in the east of the South Island. Despite the likelihood of a milder than normal winter, typical winter cold spells and frosts are still expected at times. Sea surface temperatures are expected to be near average around New Zealand over the winter period.

Rainfall, soil moisture, and stream flows:

Rainfall is likely to be near normal over most of the country, but normal or below normal in the southwest of the North Island. Normal or below normal soil moisture levels and stream flows are likely in the north and west of the North Island, but over the rest of New Zealand near-normal conditions are the most likely outcome.

Regional predictions for the next three months:

Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty:

Temperatures are likely to be above average.  Seasonal rainfall totals are likely to be near normal, while soil moisture levels and stream flows are equally likely to be near normal or below normal.

Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above average, near average, and below average. The full probability breakdown is:

Temperature Rainfall Soil moisture Stream flows
Above average 50% 20% 20% 20%
Near average 40% 50% 40% 40%
Below average 10% 30% 40% 40%

Click these links to view the historic rainfall and temperature ranges for this region

 

Central North Island, Taranaki, Wanganui, Manawatu and Wellington:

Above average seasonal temperatures are likely. Rainfall totals are equally likely to be near normal or below normal, while stream flows and soil moisture levels are equally likely to be in the near normal or below normal range, for the three months as a whole.

Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above average, near average, and below average. The full probability breakdown is:

Temperature Rainfall Soil moisture Stream flows
Above average 50% 20% 20% 20%
Near average 40% 40% 40% 40%
Below average 10% 40% 40% 40%

Click these links to view the historic rainfall and temperature ranges for this region

 

Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa:

Temperatures averaged over the three months are likely to be in the above average category. Seasonal rainfall totals, stream flows and soil moisture levels, are all likely to be in the  normal range.

Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above normal, near normal, and below normal.The full probability breakdown is:

Temperature Rainfall Soil moisture Stream flows
Above average 50% 20% 20% 20%
Near average 40% 50% 45% 45%
Below average 10% 30% 35% 35%

Click these links to view the historic rainfall and temperature ranges for this region

 

Nelson, Marlborough, Buller:

Seasonal temperatures are likely to be in the above average range. Rainfalls, stream flows and soil moisture levels are likely to be near normal overall.

Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above average, near average, and below average. The full probability breakdown is:

Temperature Rainfall Soil moisture Stream flows
Above average 50% 25% 25% 20%
Near average 40% 50% 45% 45%
Below average 10% 25% 30% 30%

Click these links to view the historic rainfall and temperature ranges for this region

 

West Coast, Alps and Foothills, Inland Otago, Southland:

Temperatures are likely to be in the above average category. Seasonal rainfall, stream flows and soil moisture levels are likely to be near normal.

Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above average, near average, and below average. The full probability breakdown is:

Temperature Rainfall Soil moisture Stream flows
Above average 50% 25% 30% 30%
Near average 40% 50% 45% 45%
Below average 10% 25% 25% 25%

Click these links to view the historic rainfall and temperature ranges for this region

 

Coastal Canterbury, East Otago:

Temperatures are equally likely to be in the average or the above average category, on the whole during winter. Seasonal rainfall totals, soil moisture levels and stream flows are likely to be in the normal range.

Probabilities are assigned in three categories; above average, near average, and below average. The full probability breakdown is:

Temperature Rainfall Soil moisture Stream flows
Above average 40% 25% 30% 25%
Near average 40% 50% 45% 45%
Below average 20% 25% 25% 30%

Click these links to view the historic rainfall and temperature ranges for this region

Background

The El Niño conditions that prevailed since winter 2009 have dissipated, and the equatorial Pacific is now in a neutral state. Recent trends suggest a La Niña could develop by early spring.

For comment, please contact:

Dr James Renwick, NIWA Principal Scientist, Climate Variability & Change

Tel (04) 386 0343 (office DDI), mobile (021) 178 5550

Georgina Griffiths, NIWA Climate Scientist

Tel (09) 375 4506 (office DDI), mobile (027) 293 6545

© Copyright NIWA 2010. All rights reserved. Acknowledgement of NIWA as the source is required.

Notes to reporters & editors

  1.    
  2. NIWA’s outlooks indicate the likelihood of    climate conditions being at, above, or below average for the    season as a whole. They are not ‘weather    forecasts’. It is not possible to forecast precise    weather conditions three months ahead of time.   
  3. The outlooks are the result of the expert    judgment of NIWA’s climate scientists. They take into    account observations of atmospheric and ocean conditions and    output from global and local climate models. The presence of El    Niño or La Niña conditions and the sea surface    temperatures around New Zealand can be a useful indicator of    likely overall climate conditions for a season.   
  4. The outlooks state the probability for above    average conditions, average conditions, and below average    conditions for rainfall, temperature, soil moisture, and stream    flows. For example, for winter (June-July-August) 2007, for all    the North Island, we assigned the following probabilities for    temperature:

       
    •        
    • Above average: 60%
    •        
    • Average: 30%
    •        
    • Below average: 10%
    •    
        We therefore conclude that above average temperatures were    very likely.
  5. This three-way probability means that a random    choice would only be correct 33% (or one-third) of the time. It    would be like randomly throwing a dart at a board divided into    3 equal parts, or throwing a dice with three numbers on it. An    analogy with coin tossing (a two-way probability) is not    correct.   
  6. A 50% ‘hit rate’ is substantially    better than guess-work, and comparable with the skill level of    the best overseas climate outlooks. See, for example, analysis    of global outlooks issued by the International Research    Institute for Climate and Society based in the U.S.    (http://iri.ldeo.columbia.edu/) published in the Bulletin of    the American Meteorological Society (Goddard, L., A. G.    Barnston, and S. J. Mason, 2003: Evaluation of the IRI's    “net assessment” seasonal climate forecasts    1997-2001. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84,    1761-1781).   
  7. Each month NIWA publishes an analysis of how well    its outlooks perform. This is available on-line and is sent to    about 3,500 recipients of NIWA’s newsletters, including    many farmers. See The Climate Update   
  8. All outlooks are for the three months as a whole.    There will inevitably be wet and dry days, hot and cold days,    within a season.   
  9. The seasonal climate outlooks are an output of a    scientific research programme, supplemented by NIWA’s    Capability Funding. NIWA does not have a government contract to    produce these outlooks.