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Daily Debrief – FRIDAY

What a hot day across much of the country today.  Humidity levels across the North Island meant it felt much warmer than was recorded.  Auckland reached into the late 30s with the humidex (heat + humidity = ‘feels like’ temperature).  Wanganui would’ve been closer to 40.

Todays highest temperature was 32 at Hastings

Todays lowest maximum temperature was 16 at Invercargill

Kaitaia : 27
Whangarei : 31
Auckland : 27
Tauranga : 24
Hamilton : 25
Whakatane : 23
Rotorua : 22
Tokoroa : 26
Taupo : 21
Gisborne : 30
New Plymouth : 22
Napier : 30
Hastings : 32
Wanganui : 29
Palmerston North : 26
Levin : 24
Kapiti : 23
Masterton : 28
Wellington : 21
Nelson : 23
Blenheim : 26
Westport : 22
Greymouth : 22
Hokitika : 20
Christchurch : 31
Timaru : 31
Oamaru : 28
Alexandra : 24
Queenstown : 20
Dunedin : 26
Invercargill : 16

Bay of Islands : 26
Murchison : 26
Kaikoura : 30
Culverden : 29
Ashburton : 29
Darfield : 28
Lyttelton : 29
Hanmer Springs : 28
Milford Sound : 18
Haast : 17
Gore : 19
Dunedin Airport : 26
Lake Rotoiti : 23
Molesworth : 24



Ian on 3/01/2009 12:46am

I was working in Shanghai, China in Summer 2003 and I observed that the official (TV news) temperatures never exceeded 39 celsius. When I mentioned this to my intellectual Chinese colleagues I was informed that the government controls the temperatures. Apparently, if the temperature exceeds 39 celsius, it is too hot to work and workers can go home. Therefore the temperature never goes above that figure. I thought my colleagues were joking with me. I was back working in China (Guangzhou) for 6 months in 2007 and I happened to mention to my new Chinese colleagues what I was told in Shanghai. They confirmed that my Colleagues in Shanghai were correct and the government controls everything including the temperatures to ensure that the workers stay at work. I do find it rather strange that I was sitting in the cold sometime in December 2007 in Guangzhou talking to my wife who was still in Auckland. We were both comparing the temperatures and my wife told me that it was quite sunny and warm and about 19 celsius. It was cold outside, and inside the apartment where I was living – it was also about 19 celsius.

Glyn on 2/01/2009 11:25am

I read somewhere a few years ago, that NZ was unique in the way that the weather temperatures were taken. If I remember correctly – we take the air temperature ( which can be chilled by the wind) and other countries take the ground temperature, which apparently could add another 5 degrees on to ours. Is that correct? If so, it would account for our feeling much hotter here at 27 than in Sydney at 35. Also, is Auckland temperature still taken out at Mangere? Here on the North Shore our temperatures are a lot higher.

weather-nut on 2/01/2009 9:53pm

No that’s not correct. Ground-temperatures (taken below the surface) are not generally used to describe weather conditions anywhere in the world. There is a world standard for measuring official air-temperatures, which, like most countries, NZ adheres to, i.e. temperature is measured at about shoulder-height in a special screen (called a Stevenson screen) which allows air to flow freely but shields against rain and warming/cooling by radiation and is typically sited in a large open flat area above trimmed grassed (where possible) well away from any heat absorbing/producing objects including buildings and trees.

Wind does not change the surrounding air-temperature. A strong wind however will chill (or warm) an object faster than a light wind, i.e. a strong cold wind may rob a person of heat faster than they can produce it.

There’s a variety of official temperature stations around Auckland. MetService usually base their official reading at the Airport, whereas NIWA often base theirs about 5 km away at Mangere. Sometimes temperatures around some parts of the North Shore can higher than say the Airport, but they can also be lower. It really depends on the prevailing winds and climatic conditions at the time.

Glyn on 2/01/2009 10:43pm

Thanks weather-nut, that’s really interesting.

I wonder why our temperatures seem much hotter than the equivalent temperatures I’ve experienced in some overseas countries like Asia and Australia, which would still have as high humidity.

Andrew on 2/01/2009 8:17am

My friend and I have both Experienced living in Auckland and Melbourne and Sydney and with Auckland’s Humidity a 30c Day in Auckland is the same as a 40c day in Sydney and Melbourne which we both Agree on… Just a interesting view on the current hot weather that we are going through…


Douglas on 2/01/2009 5:38am

The humidex always overblows the “feels like” temperature.

For example, Wanganui today reached 27C with about 60% relative humidity.

This gives a Humidex of 33C, but a Heat Index of 28C.

Now compare with, say, a typical summer day in Florida, USA. Temperature of 32C, with dewpoint of 24C (RH = 63%). This gives a Humidex of 43C, but a Heat Index of 38C.

Which one is correct?

Here is a very in-depth discussion of Wind Chill and Humidex, pointing out that the latter is calculated in somewhat arbitrary fashion, and has not been revised for a long time.

“The wind chill factor and the humidex are creations born of the need for the media to captivate their audience. “

WW Forecast Team on 2/01/2009 7:38am

Hi Douglas – interesting points you raise and certainly well worth reading.

Some conservative opinions (in my view) think that it’s not a scientific way of looking at the weather.  I guess it’s certainly a subjective thing…what a temperature actually feels like.  To some today was comfortable, to others it was unbearable.  However I don’t agree that it’s a media creation simply to captivate an audience…sure in some cases, but not on a regular basis.

In my personal use of the humidex it’s to try and better explain the temperature.  It was 30 degrees in Gisborne today but I bet it was much hotter for those in Auckland at 27 with very high humidity.  The reporting of simply the air temperature doesn’t give it justice.  The humidex reading (of which there are multiple formulas, some are conservative others are crazy!) is a better way of comparing temperatures from one region to another, at least when talking about comfort levels.

I know in Canada and America the humidex and wind chill temperatures are considered almost more important as they better reflect how you’ll feel outside.

It’s a great discussion – and you’re comments have prompted me to look at writing a fair and balanced blog on the humidex/wind chill…and whether they’re an accurate tool.  If you – or others – would like to comment further, or even contribute to the blog, send us an email using the "contact us" form above.

Thanks again!

Philip Duncan

Michelle on 2/01/2009 5:30am

Our outside thermometer in Christchurch was reading 32.1 when I checked it this afternoon. It is also very very gusty here, had to rescue our rubbish bin a few minutes ago. Am hoping our tomatoes will ride through this rough patch…

Am looking forward to the cooler weather though!

David on 2/01/2009 5:03am

Thermometer in our backyard (in Howick ) says peak temperature today was 28.7 degrees, sure felt really hot and the humidity today was awful. Not sure why it seems hotter here the last 2 days than other eastern areas such as Botany Downs, and even the city. Honestly walking outside this afternoon it sure felt like the temp was right up in the high twenties. 6pm and still 27 degrees. Sleeping will be uncomfortable again tonight 🙁

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