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Summer by the numbers

How was this summer for you?  Did you like the weather you got?  Here’s a look at a few of the highlights (or low-lights depending on how you look at it).

The highest temperature was 31.7°C, observed at Lake Pukaki on 4 January. 
The lowest temperature was -0.9°C, at Ranfurly on 3 January.
The highest 1-day rainfall experienced was 392 mm at Takaka on 14 December.
The highest gust recorded was 185 km/hr at Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago, on 31 January.

Of the six main centres in summer 2011/2012, Tauranga was the warmest and sunniest, Hamilton the wettest and cloudiest, Christchurch the driest, and Dunedin the coolest.

It should come as no surprise that this summer was seriously lacking sunshine.  Aside from a few parts of the South Island, most of New Zealand saw far less sunshine than what is normal for a summer season.

NIWA’s National Climate Centre says that Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Wellington all broke their respective records for least number of hours of sunshine.  Dunedin and Christchurch were below normal, but did not break their respective records.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Greymouth actually had the 2nd highest amount of sunshine.
It was the wettest summer on record for Takaka and Nelson, with the summer rainfall totals about three times their summer normals.  An astounding 1310 mm of rainfall was recorded at Takaka over the summer.  Nearly one third of this fell on just one day (14 December 2011), in a significant and extreme event in the region.  The 392 mm recorded at Takaka on that day was the highest 1-day rainfall for 2011 from the regularly reporting gauges and a new all-time record at Takaka.  
Summer rainfall was also above normal or well above normal (at least 120 percent of summer normal) across most of the North Island, as well as in Otago and South Canterbury.  In contrast, it was a rather dry summer over the west and south of the South Island.  Seasonal rainfall totals were generally less than half of summer normal for Fiordland and the West Coast, and were below normal for coastal Southland and South Island alpine areas (between 50 and 79 percent of summer normal). 
Below average summer mean temperatures (between 0.5°C and 1.2°C below average) were experienced in Canterbury, the Kaikoura Coast, Wellington and the Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, the Central Plateau, Taupo and Bay of Plenty.
Above average summer mean temperatures (between 0.5°C and 1.2°C above average) were observed for Fiordland and the West Coast.  Elsewhere, temperatures were close to average. The nation-wide average temperature in summer was 16.2°C (0.4°C below the 1971–2000 summer average), using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909.  
Photo by Goeff Blackmore
By NIWA and Analyst Howard Joseph


Andrew on 5/03/2012 2:58am

My guess is that for us Winter lovers this Winter may end up being one of the coldest ever…. Even for Auckland and Northland……

Here’s hoping…….. Fingers Crossed…..

So far its been No Summer lol and now people are saying were getting a dull coolish Autumn…… Thats only going to lead to a fantastic Winter……. Hopefully……

From Takapuna

RW on 5/03/2012 3:28am

Well – the correlation between mean summer temps and those of the following winter, from a lengthy NZ temperature series, is about zero – so too early to call. There have been quite a number of attempts to “conjure up” a seriously cold winter in the last decade or so, and they have failed.

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