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POLL: Does Spring start now, or at the equinox?

Some might argue spring started over a month ago, despite our cold blast in the second week of August, but yesterday New Zealand, Australia and South Africa officially marked the start of Spring.

While the debate will no doubt go on about whether today is truly the start of spring (many nations go by the astronomical start and end to seasons, which coincides with the equinox and longest and shortest days of the year – so June 22/23, Sept 22/23 etc) there is little doubt that spring conditions have already begun.

So how will September pan out?  Well, our models are telling us it will start off settled – but will go down hill in about 8 or 9 days time.

Long range models show the large high coming in this weekend staying with us until the end of next week – hopefully giving rugby fans warm northerlies at Eden Park for the kick off of the Rugby World Cup next Friday.

However as that high departs over the Pacific Ocean it’s replacement high may still be out over Perth – some 5000kms away from New Zealand. says in between these two highs we have the perfect recipe for a big Tasman Sea low and Southern Ocean cold fronts.

If this eventuates, as a couple of the models suggest, it could bring gales and heavy rain to parts of New Zealand next weekend and into the week starting September 12. 

It may also push temperatures in the east into the low 20s – but the downside could be a cold southerly before the next high rolls in later that week or the following weekend.

Either way, conditions do look unsettled from about September 10 onwards. 

We’ll keep you posted as we head towards the Spring Equinox on Sept 22nd, the date that marks the sun spending more time over the Southern Hemisphere than the Northern Hemisphere – and it also marks the start of our typically windiest weather.

– Homepage image / File, John Krippner



Andrew on 1/09/2011 8:08pm

Yet again we are hung up on seasons. For the sake of statistical simplisity we have calender dates that nearly reflect the posion (tilt) of the earth in relation to the sun – the lag effect at our lattitude to increased solar heating gives us a delayed ‘season’ hence ‘late’ summers in February and often ‘poor weather’ at Christmas (3 or 4 days into the solar summer).

The biological season reflects ambient weather patterns (not as old tales suggest a prediction of future weather). To combine the Meterological, solar and biological ‘seasons’ will take a paradigm shift that is beyond current thinking.

“Seasons” are not the same around the world, so to suggest we have a fixed date is only for convinence, not a reflection of location or prevaling weather patterns.

A revison to thinking is requrired to reflect seasonality and a wider understanding of the issues of trying to apply a lable to a complex and variable transition of weather patterns.





sw on 1/09/2011 12:35am

Spring is the worst season if you live in Auckland…as a rule Blustery SW winds,showers cloudiness.

Zelda Wynn on 1/09/2011 7:53am

LOL, I live in Auckland and love the spring weather,rain and SW’ers.  The SW’ers keep the humidity at bay.  Of course I don’t have pine needles annoying me :),though would love some,I like the smell.

weather-nut on 1/09/2011 8:00pm

According to NIWA’s figures, spring overall is typically Auckland’s 2nd sunniest and driest season after summer. 

sw on 1/09/2011 9:03pm

I would honestly say if we seldom had the SW wind or its ugly variant the SSW,Auckland would have an interesting climate,there would be more sunshine,calm days,actually more storms too,including lightning because many other directions are unstable(W NW and NE)/sunny(N,SE and S) rather than wind and anticyclonic gloom.Scroll through any given metservice rain charts in a SW setup and see how the wind,cloud and showers skirt the south island and over taranaki and straight through the isthumus.

Guest on 2/09/2011 10:19am

Spring doesn’t always deliver “wet and cloudy” sou’westerlies. Last year was very dry (in some areas being the driest in more than 40 years) and also the sunniest October in some years. Also summer SWers can be very sunny and dry. Frankly you need to get over your “exaggeration” of the SWer and admit it does bring some of the best weather to Auckland.

Amanda on 31/08/2011 8:55pm

Had a snow shower at 8.30 this morning in Wakari a Dunedin hill suburb – 200-250m above sealevel.  Big flakes.  Very cold out – our thermometer says 1.7degs.  Snow settling on Flagstaff and Mt Cargill to about 350m.  Sunny now and snow melting.  Maybe we’ll get more snow!

Guest on 31/08/2011 8:30pm

I feel spring usually arrives in Christchurch in the last two weeks of August.  We tend to get the NW winds coming through.  When you combine those with sunshine, the temperatures often top 20 before September.  The months of September and October are usually warm and dry with the odd southerly flying through.

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