Climate Summary for April 2016

Warm, dry and sunny for most of New Zealand.

Temperature

April temperatures were well above average (>1.20°C) or above average (+0.51°C to +1.20 °C) in most parts of New Zealand.  It was an especially warm month for much of Southland where mean temperatures were 2.0°C or more above average.

Rainfall

 

Rainfall was well below normal (<50% of normal) for parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Wellington, Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.  Conversely, rainfall was well above normal (>149% of normal) or above normal (120-149% of normal) in the southwest of the South Island and Stewart Island.

Sunshine

Sunshine was well above normal (>125% of normal) or above normal (110-125% of normal) in many parts of the country.  The exception was parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southland where sunshine was near normal (90-109% of normal).

Soil Moisture

As at 1 May 2016, soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for eastern and inland parts of the South Island, and extensive parts of the North Island.  Soil moisture levels were above normal in parts of Fiordland.

Overview

During April 2016, a west to east oriented belt of significantly higher than normal pressure was present over New Zealand. This pressure pattern resulted in a settled month of weather, with warm temperatures, low rainfall and high sunshine hours characterising the month for many parts of the country.  April temperatures were well above average (>1.20°C above the April average) or above average (+0.51°C to +1.20°C above the April average) in parts of every region of the country.  It was a particularly warm month for much of Southland which recorded temperatures more than 2.0°C above the April average.  Isolated parts of Waikato, Gisborne, West Coast and Canterbury observed near average April temperatures (-0.51°C to +0.50°C of the April average).  

Temperature

The nationwide average temperature in April 2016 was 14.1°C (0.9°C above the 1981-2010 April average from NIWA’s seven station temperature series which begins in 1909), making April 2016 the 13th-warmest April on record using this series. The first four months of 2016 have all been warmer than normal, and January-April 2016 is the equal 2nd-warmest January-April period in the seven station temperature record (equaled by 1998 and 1999, and exceeded only by 1938).

Rainfall

The prevalence of high pressure systems during the month contributed to a lack of meaningful rainfall in many parts of the country.  Rainfall was well below normal (<50% of the April normal) for parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Whanganui, Manawatu, Wairarapa, Wellington, Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.  Rainfall was typically below normal (50-79% of the April normal) in remaining areas of the country.  The exception was isolated parts of eastern Northland, Coromandel, Gisborne and Kapiti Coast where rainfall was near normal (80-119% of the April normal), and parts of coastal Southland and Stewart Island where rainfall was above normal (120-149% of the April normal) or well above normal (>149% of the April normal).

Soil moisture

As at 1 May 2016, soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for extensive parts of New Zealand.  Soil moisture levels were considerably below normal in western parts of Northland, Auckland and Waikato, the East Cape, the lower half of the North Island, and eastern parts of Canterbury.  Soil moisture levels were near normal for the time of year in Nelson and Tasman despite a very dry April in these parts, which may be attributed to the considerable rainfall which occurred there in March 2016.  Soil moisture levels were above normal in parts of Fiordland.

Sunshine

April sunshine was well above normal (>125% of the April normal) in Taranaki, Kapiti Coast, Nelson, Cheviot, Rangiora and Queenstown, and above normal (110-125% of the April normal) for most remaining areas of New Zealand.  The exception was areas of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southland where April sunshine was near normal (90-109% of the April normal).

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 28.3°C, observed at Christchurch (Riccarton) on 3 April.
  • The lowest temperature was -4.0°C, observed at Pukaki Aerodrome on 28 April.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 142 mm, recorded at North Egmont on 1 April.
  • The highest wind gust was 146 km/hr, observed at South West Cape on 29 April.
  • Of the six main centres in April 2016, Auckland was the warmest, Christchurch was the coolest and driest, Wellington was the sunniest, and Tauranga was the wettest and cloudiest.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four locations in 2016 so far (1 January – 30 April) were Richmond (1121 hours), New Plymouth (1030 hours), Blenheim (1002 hours) and Takaka (961 hours).

Download 

Download the April 2016 Monthly Climate Summary [581.92 KB]

Climate Statistics for April 2016 [69 KB]

Contact

Mr Chris Brandolino
Principal Scientist – Forecasting, NIWA National Climate Centre
Tel. 09 375 6335
Mobile 027 886 0014