Climate Summary for October 2012

A cool October in the south and west South Island; very dry in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay.

Temperature 

A cool October for the south and west of the South Island, as well as Ruapehu to Hamilton, including inland Bay of Plenty. Near average elsewhere.

Rainfall 

Frequent southwest winds produced a very wet month over the south and west of the South Island, as well as for south Canterbury.  In contrast, it was a rather dry month across much of the North Island, north Canterbury and Marlborough, with less than half of usual October rainfall occurring in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, and coastal Wairarapa.

Sunshine

A relatively sunny month for the lower half of the North Island, as well as Northland, Marlborough, and Canterbury.  Cloudy for the south of the South Island.  Near normal sunshine totals elsewhere.

Soil moisture

At the end of October, soils were much drier than usual in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa.  Soil moisture levels were also below normal for the eastern Bay of Plenty, between Auckland and Whangarei, and around Wanganui.  In contrast, soils remain wetter than usual in south Canterbury and the Clutha.   

Overview

It was a relatively stormy October, with more frequent southwest winds and lower pressures than usual affecting New Zealand.   These southwesterly winds produced a rather cool October for the south and west of the South Island, and very dry conditions in the eastern North Island. 

Well below average temperatures (around 1.2°C below the October average) were observed over the south and west of the South Island, as well as between Mt. Ruapehu and Hamilton and including inland Bay of Plenty, reflecting the frequent southwest winds during the month.   Temperatures were also below average (between 0.5°C and 1.2°C below the October average) for Otago and parts of south Canterbury.  For north Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough, the southwest North Island between Wellington and Taranaki, and for the north and east of the North Island, temperatures were generally near average (within 0.5°C of the October average).  The nation-wide average temperature in October 2012 was 11.8°C (0.4°C below the 1971-2000 October average), using NIWA’s seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909.

Frequent southwest winds produced a very wet month over the south and west of the South Island, as well as for south Canterbury, with well above normal rainfall (more than 150 percent of October normal) experienced.  In contrast, it was a rather dry month across much of the North Island, as well as north Canterbury and Marlborough (with between 50 and 79 percent of October normal rainfall observed).  In Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, and the coastal Wairarapa, rainfall was less than half October normal. For Nelson, eastern Otago, north Taranaki and around the Central Plateau, rainfall was close to normal.

At the end of October, soils were much drier than usual in Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa.  Soil moisture levels were also below normal for the eastern Bay of Plenty, between Auckland and Whangarei, in Central Otago, and around Wanganui.  In contrast, soils remain wetter than usual across south Canterbury and in the Clutha.  Elsewhere, soil moisture levels are close to normal for the time of year.

It was a relatively sunny October for the lower half of the North Island, as well as Northland, Marlborough, and Canterbury (with sunshine totals generally between 110 percent and 124 percent of October normal).  In contrast, below normal sunshine totals were recorded for the south of the South Island (between 75 and 90 percent of October normal).   Near normal sunshine totals were generally observed elsewhere.

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 26.8°C, observed at Gisborne on 27 October. 
  • The lowest temperature was -8.3°C, recorded at Lake Tekapo on 14 October.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall experienced was 150 mm at North Egmont on 13 October.
  • The highest gust recorded was 185 km/hr at Cape Turnagain, on both 18 and 25 October.
  • Of the six main centres in October 2012, Christchurch was the driest, Hamilton the wettest, Dunedin the coolest and also the cloudiest; Tauranga the sunniest, and Auckland the warmest.

Full report

Full details of the October 2012 climate summary (PDF 554 KB)

Climate statistics table

Climate statistics for October 2012 (PDF 80 KB)

For further information, please contact:

Ms Georgina Griffiths

Climate Scientist - NIWA National Climate Centre, Auckland

Mobile 027 293 6545