Special Update: NZ's current set up breaking all the norms

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Most of New Zealand is drier than average. Most of NZ is warmer than average. Now the sea surface temperatures are not only above average, but they are warmer than average more so than anywhere else on the globe.

Current sea surface temperatures between New Zealand's South Island and Australia's south eastern corner (the south half of the Tasman Sea) are well above average, by over 6 degrees. Often a couple degrees above average can make news headlines, six degrees is quite extraordinary. 

WeatherWatch.co.nz head forecaster Philip Duncan says the lack of movement in the weather around New Zealand over the past several weeks has contributed. "The Tasman Sea is basically like a bath with the hot tap on and the cold tap isn't turned on properly. With no big Tasman Sea lows or strong southerly wind flows we're instead seeing warm ocean currents, which hug Australia's eastern coastline, drift across the Tasman Sea. There's no churning motion to mix warm and cool".

The West Coast of the South Island now has similar temperatures to those swimming in northern beaches around Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Coromandel Peninsula. Sea surface temperatures are around 19 degrees in the west and north. Generally speaking sea surface temperatures around New Zealand don't peak until March.

ABOVE - Sea surface temperatures in yellow/yellowy-white are over 6 degrees above normal for now.
BELOW - The Tasman Sea area is much warmer than average, more than anywhere else on the planet.  Images via GFS/Earth.nullschool.net

Warmer oceans leads to bigger storms and more downpours, so the current set up basically highlights something WeatherWatch.co.nz first mentioned about this coming summer back in October - that it may have a mix of droughts and some isolated flood events.

The 10 day trend for New Zealand shows some improvement to previous updates in November, with less extreme red and more blue coming back in. (See map below).

However, the general trend is for much of New Zealand to remain hotter and drier than average.

Daily downpours may return to inland areas as well this week, but won't be as widespread as last week. 


- Red = much drier than average. Pink = Mostly dry, some showers. White = Average rainfall. Blue: Wet, perhaps wetter than average (if dark blue).  GFS (US Govt).

- WeatherWatch.co.nz 


Duncan.. Please "Averages" Gobbledygook

Well, not all of us are experts Weather Watch..[Duncan] so how about you speak in layman's terms or "English that is Clearer and Precise" this paragraph below may well be easy for you to understand, but really, this is gobbledygook! "Most of New Zealand is drier than average. Most of NZ is warmer than average. Now the sea surface temperatures are not only above average, but they are warmer than average more so than anywhere else on the globe." You talk of "Averages" as if everyone knows what the "Average" is; [Quote: Most of New Zealand is drier than Average" unquote] but unless you tell us, how on earth are we supposed to know [or are we to remain silent and not show our ignorance].What the average is? Duncan you go on to say [Quote Most of NZ is is warmer than Average unquote] Again what is the Average? its gobbledygook! Further more [Quote: now the sea surface temperature is not only above "Average" but they are warmer than "Average" more so than anywhere else on the globe" un-quote] If you are going to write such columns, then please make sure your readers understands.. because pulling this whole paragraph apart makes this "Common nonsense" that been written, its makes no "Common Sense" at all except to confuse the reader. What is it ? percentages, ? How are you defining this? - What is the Data backup your using to work out the average? what are you comparing this too..? How are you comparing this to and when...? and so forth... How on earth do you expect the "Average" person to understand what on earth you mean? Please STOP talking Averages until you can put it in plain english what the Average is in the first place.. we don't have a computer brain, or memory Bank to store previous information to recall at split second whether it was based on last year or previous years performances, or a crystal ball in front of us to see what you see.. so when writing something like this - think what the reader may view it as. I.e the Average temperature last month was 30 degrees.. in the last three days it rose by 6% so the average is? or June 2016 the average was 20 degrees warmer than previous years .. the average temperature about that time of year is normally.... blar blar blar and so forth.. Please make your articles easier to understand and more informative, "FACTUAL". Please don't assume that everyone knows what the average is. Thank you.

Hi Diana, actually our

Hi Diana, actually our research shows the "average" person doesn't want all the nitty gritty details, they can get very specific information from Government Agencies who already provide this information to the public. Our goal is simple - to explain conditions are hotter and drier than normal and that is the main focus. If you need all the stats please ask NIWA and MetService.  Many of our infographics are also showing some specific numbers.

In weather we always focus on if conditions are above or below average. Most readers just want to know if it will get cooler/wetter/hotter/drier.

NZ is the only country in the western world to have NO open weather data, so please cut us some slack - it's hard to get the info you want and it's why we've been fighting for 7 years for the NZ government to free it up.

Thanks for using our entirely free service.
Kind regards
Philip Duncan