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Climate Summary for November 2010

Highs and dryness dominate for second month

  • Rainfall:  Extremely dry across the North Island and western areas of the South Island.  Many November low rainfall records broken.  Soils unusually dry in the north and west of the North Island, and northwest of the South Island.
  • Temperatures:  Record warm in the South Island. Extreme hot spell at the end of the month.
  • Sunshine: Record sunshine across the lower half of the North Island.

Anticyclones (‘highs’) dominated New Zealand’s climate during November 2010, producing record low November rainfall in many areas, and record November warmth for the South Island.  This was the second month in a row in which rainfall has been extremely low for most regions, resulting in unusually dry soils for the time of year across northern and western regions of the North Island, and the northwest of the South Island.  Severe soil moisture deficits (more than 130 mm of deficit) existed as at the end of the month in Northland, Auckland, parts of the Waikato, Nelson, the Lakes District and central Otago, with significant soil moisture deficits (more than 110 mm of deficit) elsewhere in the Waikato, Taupo, parts of the Manawatu and Gisborne, in Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa, Marlborough, and parts of Canterbury.  

November rainfall was less than half (50 percent) of November normal in all regions, except the eastern South Island (where near normal rainfalls occurred).  Rainfall was around 25% (quarter) of normal in the Lakes District and northwest of the South Island, as well as in parts of Waikato and Northland.  Record low rainfalls were experienced in many regions in the north and west of both islands. 

Monthly mean temperatures for November as a whole were more than 2°C above average across the entire South Island, and many long-term November temperature records were broken there.  It was also warmer than usual across most regions of the North Island, with temperatures between 0.5°C and 1.2°C above average.  The exceptions were Northland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and coastal Wairarapa, where near average temperatures prevailed (within 0.5°C of average).  An extremely hot (record breaking) spell occurred across the country on the 28th-30th, with numerous November extreme maximum temperature records broken in both islands.  The New Zealand national average temperature was 14.7°C in November (1.0°C above the 1971–2000 November average).

The persistent highs during the month brought clear skies and a sunny month overall for most regions of the country.  Sunshine totals were well above normal (more than 125 percent of November normal) in the lower half of the North Island, and several sites broke records there.  Elsewhere, sunshine totals were also above normal (between 110 and 125 percent of November normal).  The exceptions were Southland and Otago, which recorded near normal sunshine hours (between 90 and 110 percent of normal). 

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature recorded was 32.9°C recorded at Waiau on the 29th (2nd highest temperature for November since records began at this location).
  • The lowest temperature recorded was -2.4°C recorded at Masterton on the 24th.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall of 71 mm occurred at Milford Sound on the 17th.
    The highest gust was 174.2 km/hr recorded at Cape Turnagain on the 14th.
  • Of the six main centres, Tauranga was the warmest, Dunedin the coolest, Hamilton the driest, and Christchurch the wettest but also the sunniest.

Full report

Full details of the  November 2010 climate summary

Climate statistics table

Climate statistics for November 2010

For further information, please contact:

Ms Georgina Griffiths – Climate Scientist– NIWA National Climate Centre, Auckland, Tel. (09) 375 4506 (work) or (027) 2936545 (mobile); or

Dr Andrew Tait – Climate Scientist – NIWA National Climate Centre, Wellington,
Tel.  (04) 386 0562 (work) or (027) 327 7948 (mobile)