When it comes to earthquakes, spring was much quieter in 2002 than it was in 2001. There were only 89 earthquakes of magnitude four and above in spring 2002, compared with 291 in the same period in 2001.
For some South Pacific countries east of the date line the chances of tropical cyclone activity are higher than normal for the November 2002–January 2003 period, according to NIWA climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger.
“Pacific Island countries with increased risk over this period are Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Tokelau, Niue and the southern Cook Islands” he said. “Tropical cyclones are still very likely about and west of the date line, but a lower than normal frequency of occurrence is expected.”
New Zealand is in a tectonically active part of the roaring forties and is vulnerable to a wide range of natural hazards. Yet, the threats of a tsunami in New Zealand are underrated, according to the latest report from the Natural Hazards Centre.
How much warning of an impending flood can we give a community? Scientists at the National Centre for Water Resources can now give flood forecasts for some areas of the country up to 48 hours ahead. A pilot project is underway in 12 catchments around New Zealand, with the eventual aim of covering the whole country.
Very high August temperatures occurred yesterday, as warm northwesterlies fanned the east coast of the South Island. This pushed the mercury up to 24.8°C at Waipara in North Canterbury, almost a new New Zealand record for the month of August.
Other high temperatures yesterday were:
2nd highest for August since records began in 1954 (22.8°C in 1970)
New Zealand’s marine and freshwater environments are extremely important for our economic and social welfare, but they are under constant pressure from human uses and introductions of new invasive species.
There are more than 150 exotic marine species in New Zealand’s coastal waters already, and at least one new species arrives every year according to a report in NIWA’s new Aquatic Biodiversity & Biosecurity newsletter, published today.
Have we got enough fresh water? The answer is “maybe”, but certainly not all in the right places, nor of the right quality. A new national centre has just been established to help manage New Zealand’s water resources.
The 48 glaciers of the Southern Alps monitored annually by NIWA continue to lose ice mass.
NIWA Senior Climate Scientist Dr Jim Salinger said today that after analysis of photographs taken on the survey of the glaciers it was apparent they had lost more ice than they gained during the past year.
“This is the fourth year in five in which the glaciers have lost ice mass, an ongoing trend which began in 1998. The loss over the past year was among the most pronounced recorded.”