Climate Summary for July 2013

4th-warmest July on record for NZ. Very warm in the South, dry in the North.

Temperature 

4th-warmest July on record for NZ. Record-high July mean temperatures throughout much of the South Island, particularly in the east and south, with many locations more than 2.0°C above July average. Well above average temperatures (more than 1.2°C above July average) in southwest North Island, also. Above average temperatures (0.5-1.0°C above July average) for northern South Island and central North Island. Near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of July average) north of Taupo.

Rainfall

Well below normal rainfall (less than 40 percent of July normal) for the upper half of the North Island (except for the Far North – near normal rainfall there), as well as parts of coastal Manawatu, Nelson-Tasman, south Canterbury, and coastal Otago north of Dunedin. In contrast, well above normal rainfall (more than 150 percent of July normal) in the southwest of the South Island, as well as southern Hawkes Bay and Ohakune. Near normal rainfall elsewhere.

Sunshine

An extremely sunny month for eastern areas. Well above normal sunshine totals (more than 125 percent of normal July sunshine) for eastern North Island, north Canterbury, and Queenstown Lakes. Above normal sunshine (110-125 percent of normal July sunshine) for the remainder of the country, except for coastal southern Southland and Stewart Island (below normal sunshine, 75-90 percent of normal July sunshine), and coastal Manawatu-Wanganui and around Greymouth (near normal sunshine, within 10 percent of normal July sunshine).

Soil moisture

As at 1 August 2013, most soils around the country were at normal soil moisture levels for the time of year. In Otago, soils were wetter than normal for the time of year, due to high rainfall in June.

Overview

July 2013 was characterised by much higher pressures than normal over and to the north, east, and west of New Zealand. Persistent lower pressures than normal were present well to the south of the country. This pressure pattern caused largely settled conditions over New Zealand for July, resulting in high mean temperatures for the time of year in much of the South Island and parts of the North Island, and dry conditions in the northern half of the North Island and eastern South Island.

A very warm July was experienced in the South Island. Mean temperatures for July were well above average (more than 1.2°C above the July average) across most of the South Island, with many locations in Canterbury and Otago recording their highest July mean temperatures on record. Mean temperatures were also well above average in the south Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui, Wellington, and Wairarapa regions. Temperatures were above average (0.5 to 1.0°C above July average) in the northern South Island, as well as Hawke's Bay, parts of Taranaki, and the Central Plateau. North of Taupo, temperatures were generally near average (within 0.5°C of July average). The nation-wide average temperature in July 2013 was 9.0°C (1.2°C above the 1971-2000 July average) from NIWA's seven-station temperature series which begins in 1909. July 2013 recorded the 4th-highest July mean temperature on record for the seven-station series.

July was a very dry month for the upper half of the North Island (except for the Far North), as well as parts of coastal Manawatu, Nelson-Tasman, south Canterbury, and coastal Otago north of Dunedin. In these areas, well below normal rainfall for July occurred (less than 50 percent of normal July rainfall). Numerous locations had near-record-breaking low rainfall for July. In contrast, the southwest of the South Island, Ohakune, and southern Hawke's Bay received well above normal rainfall for July (more than 150 percent of normal July rainfall). Near normal rainfall was experienced elsewhere (within 20 percent of normal July rainfall). As at 1 August, most soils around the country were at normal soil moisture levels for the time of year. In Otago, soils were wetter than normal for the time of year, due to high rainfall in June.

Sunshine hours were well above normal (more than 125 percent of July normal) for the eastern half of the North Island, north Canterbury, and Queenstown Lakes. Above normal sunshine (110-125 percent of normal July sunshine) was experienced for the remainder of the country, except for coastal southern Southland and Stewart Island (below normal sunshine, 75-90 percent of normal July sunshine), and coastal Manawatu-Wanganui and around Greymouth (near normal sunshine, within 10 percent of normal July sunshine). Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four centres so far in 2013 (January to July) are: Whakatane (1630 hours), New Plymouth (1532), Tauranga (1468 hours), and Blenheim (1454 hours).

Further Highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 21.5 °C, recorded at Wairoa on 5 July.
  • The lowest temperature was -8.4 °C, observed at Arthur's Pass on 11 July.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 145 mm, recorded at Mt Cook on 5 July.
  • The highest wind gust was 170 km/hr, at Brothers Island on 14 July and Upper Rakaia on 7 July.
  • In July 2013, Auckland was the warmest and driest, Tauranga was the sunniest, Christchurch was the coolest, Wellington was the wettest, and Hamilton was the cloudiest of the six main centres.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four centres so far in 2013 (January to July) are: Whakatane (1630 hours), New Plymouth (1532), Tauranga (1468 hours), and Blenheim (1454 hours). 

Full report

Full details of the July 2013 climate summary (PDF 797 KB)

Climate statistics table

Climate statistics for July 2013 (PDF 78 KB)

For further information, please contact:

Dr Andrew Tait

Principal Scientist - Climate, NIWA Wellington

Tel. 04 386 0562