Current climate: February 2017

February 2017 was characterised by higher than normal atmospheric pressure over much of New Zealand with lower than normal pressure to the southwest. This pressure pattern resulted in more winds from a northwesterly direction than normal.


Rainfall for February was above normal (120 to 149% of normal) or well above normal (>149% of normal) for central and southeastern parts of the North Island, as well in the Far North. The rest of the North Island experienced mostly near normal (80 to 119% of normal) rainfall. Much of the eastern South Island experienced below normal (50 to 79% of normal) or well below normal (<50% of normal) rainfall totals while areas of near normal (80 to 119% of normal) rainfall were recorded to the west.


Near average February temperatures (-0.50°C to +0.50°C of average) for most of the South Island except in western Southland and northern Tasman where below average temperatures (-0.51°C to -1.20°C of average) and well below average (<-1.2°C of average) were experienced, respectively. Near average temperatures occurred for the south and west of the North Island while above average (+0.51 to +1.20°C of average) and well above average (>1.2°C of average) temperatures occurred in the north and eastern North Island. 


Below normal (75 – 89% of normal) through much of the western and central North Island. Near normal (90-110% of normal) in Northland, Wellington, and Taumarunui. Above (110 to 125% of normal) or well above normal (>125% of normal) sunshine hours occurred for much of the eastern and central South Island. The exclusion to this was Christchurch which, along with Nelson, experienced near normal sunshine hours.

Soil Moisture

As at 1 March 2017, soil moisture levels were much higher than normal for the time of year in the central and far north of the North Island, as well as the Wairarapa. Lower than normal soil moisture levels were found in Northland, Taranaki, and through much of the South Island. Otago, Marlborough, and Southland, as well as the rest of the South Island, experienced normal soil moisture for this time of year.

Percentage of normal rainfall for February 2017.
End of month water balance in the pasture root zone for an average soil type where the available water capacity is taken to be 150 mm.
Departure from average air temperature for February 2017.