Q&A: Weather or not

NIWA has launched two new online weather forecasting services designed to help Kiwis from different walks of life decide when to carry out weather- dependent activities.

What are the new NIWA forecasting services?

NIWA forecast is a subscription service that helps farmers and growers make important operational decisions like when to fertilise, spray or move stock, and when to protect against adverse weather such as frosts or high winds. Subscribers receive a continuous online feed of current weather conditions from the NIWA weather station that best represents conditions on their farm or orchard. They also receive a suite of forecasts tailored to that weather station (rather than an entire region), as well as valuable climate information and analyses (see below for details).

Find out more about NIWA forecast

NIWA Weather is a free web-based service that provides urban New Zealanders with an instant visual snapshot of the temperature, rainfall, wind speed and direction, and general weather conditions expected in their town or city over the next six days. Forecasts are hourly for the first 24 hours and three-hourly thereafter.

Find out more about NIWA Weather 

What's special about them?

NIWA forecast is capable of generating separate forecasts for locations as little as 12km apart, using the computational power of NIWA's IBM p575 POWER 6 supercomputer (known as 'FitzRoy'). The service uses data from a 300-strong weather station network, giving farmers and growers access to information and predictions tailored as closely as possible to their own property.

FInd out more about Fitzroy

Data and forecasts are updated regularly and automatically, so subscribers always have access to the very latest information.

The NIWA forecast user interface is customisable, so subscribers can ensure all of the information most important to them is front and centre whenever they log on.

Subscribers can also set automated alerts, which trigger an email or SMS to be sent whenever conditions pass (or are forecast to pass) pre-set thresholds. This facility is particularly helpful to farmers and growers whose operations are susceptible to specific weather conditions, such as frost.

NIWA Weather – like NIWA forecast – is backed by FitzRoy's state-of-the-art high-resolution forecasting capability. The site's striking contemporary design features location-specific animated illustrations, colour spectrums to depict the time of day and cloud cover, and mouse-over data reveals.

NIWA Weather is designed to help urban New Zealanders find their window of opportunity to get things done outside – like drying the washing or exercising. Its forecasts are presented graphically and are supplemented by simple data, meaning little interpretation is required to understand how the days ahead are shaping up.

NIWA Weather is also designed to work on smartphones and tablets.

As a NIWA forecast subscriber, what do I get?

For your chosen weather station, you receive:

A continuous feed of current weather conditions

  • Air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation amount, wind speed and direction, soil moisture and temperature (if available from chosen station).

Automatically updated weather forecasts

High-resolution forecasts out to two days (updated four times daily, hourly forecast intervals)

  • Air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation amount, wind speed and direction, cloud cover, and animated maps showing hourly precipitation, pressure and wind.

Medium-resolution forecasts out to six days (updated once daily, three-hourly forecast intervals)

  • Air temperature, relative humidity, precipitation amount, wind speed and direction, and animated maps showing three-hourly precipitation and wind.

Probabilistic forecasts out to 15 days (updated once daily, daily forecast intervals)

  • Maximum and minimum air temperature, precipitation amount, average wind speed, soil temperature (if available from chosen station) and probability of air temperature falling below 0°C.

Seasonal climate outlook

  • A three-month look ahead at expected rainfall, temperature, soil moisture and river flows in your region (relative to long-term averages).

Up-to-date summaries

National summary maps

  • Last 15 days' precipitation, month-to-date precipitation, soil moisture deficit, soil moisture anomaly, last 15 days' sun, month-to-date sun, last 15 days' temperature and month-to-date temperature.

Summaries for your chosen station

  • Accumulated precipitation, mean soil temperature, soil water balance, mean temperature, mean wind speed and frost occurrence.

How are the services accessed?

For more information on, or to subscribe to, NIWA forecast, contact us:

NIWA forecast

You can visit NIWA Weather any time and find the latest forecasts for your town or city:

NIWA weather 

Are more forecasting services planned?

Yes. NIWA is continuously evolving and adding new products and features to its online services based on weather,

river and ocean forecasting. Our aim is to provide New Zealanders with tailored information and forecasts to help them make an increasingly wide range of commercial and recreational decisions.

At the same time, our work to improve the accuracy and resolution of our weather forecasts is ongoing.