Climate Summary for July 2016
A mild month overall and dry for eastern areas of the country.
July temperatures were above average (+0.51°C to +1.20 °C) in many parts of New Zealand. It was an especially warm month for much of the inland South Island, Kaikoura and Auckland where well above average mean temperatures (> +1.20°C) were observed.
It was a very dry month for many eastern areas of the country, particularly in Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, coastal Wairarapa and eastern Canterbury, where rainfall was well below normal (<50% of normal). Conversely, rainfall was well above normal (>149% of normal) or above normal (120-149% of normal) for most remaining parts of the South Island, Whanganui and the Central Plateau.
July sunshine was well above normal (>125% of normal) or above normal (110-125% of normal) in many parts of the country. It was especially sunny for this time of year in south Otago, Central Otago, eastern Canterbury and the southern North Island.
At the end of July 2016, soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for eastern parts of the South Island north of Ashburton, and eastern parts of the North Island, particularly coastal Wairarapa. Soil moisture levels for the remainder of the country were near normal for this time of year.
NIWA Climate Scientist Nava Fedaeff reviews the month of July across New Zealand - where it's been dry in the east and wetter than usual in the west and south.
During July 2016, mean sea-level pressures were lower than normal over and to the south of New Zealand. This pressure pattern resulted in a prevalence of winds from a westerly direction.
Temperatures warmer than usual
July temperatures were above average (+0.51°C to +1.20°C above the July average) in many parts of the country. It was a particularly warm month for Central Otago, the Southern Lakes, the Mackenzie Basin, Kaikoura and Auckland which recorded well above average temperatures (>1.20°C above the July average). Eastern parts of the lower South Island, the West Coast and the Central Plateau observed near average July temperatures (-0.51°C to +0.50°C of the July average). The nationwide average temperature in July 2016 was 8.6°C (0.7°C above the 1981-2010 July average from NIWA’s seven station temperature series which begins in 1909), making July 2016 the 10th-warmest July on record using this series. The first seven months of 2016 have all been warmer than normal, and January-July 2016 is the warmest January-July period in the seven station temperature record with a departure from average of +1.3°C.
Dry in the east and wetter in the west and south
The prevalence of winds from a westerly direction was clearly reflected in the rainfall totals observed throughout the country. Eastern areas of both the North Island and South Island were in the rain shadow of these prevailing winds and very dry as a result, with well below normal rainfall (<50% of the July normal) observed in parts of Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, coastal Wairarapa and eastern Canterbury. In contrast, it was a wet month for areas more exposed to the westerly winds, including southern, western and inland parts of the South Island, Whanganui and the Central Plateau, where rainfall was typically well above normal (>149% of the July normal) or above normal (120-149% of the July normal). It was a particularly wet month for inland parts of Southland and Otago, Mount Cook Village, Milford Sound, Reefton and Westport which recorded more than double their normal July rainfall respectively. Rainfall was near normal (80-119% of the July normal) for most of Northland, Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.
Soil moisture levels below normal in the east
As at 1 August 2016, soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for eastern parts of Canterbury and Marlborough north of Ashburton, coastal Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay. Soil moisture levels were mostly near normal for remaining parts of New Zealand.
July sunshine was well above normal (>125% of the July normal) in Paraparaumu, Wellington, eastern Canterbury, Central Otago, the Southern Lakes and south Otago, and above normal (110-125% of the July normal) for most remaining areas of New Zealand. The exceptions were areas of Northland, Auckland, the Central Plateau and the West Coast where July sunshine was near normal (90-109% of the July normal).
- The highest temperature was 22.3°C, observed at Christchurch (Riccarton) on 23 July.
- The lowest temperature was -8.7°C, observed at Hanmer Forest on 12 July.
- The highest 1-day rainfall was 225 mm, recorded at North Egmont on 13 July.
- The highest wind gust was 195 km/hr, observed at Cape Turnagain on 24 July.
- Of the six main centres in July 2016, Christchurch was the coolest, driest and sunniest, Auckland was the warmest, Tauranga was the wettest, and Dunedin was the cloudiest.
- Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four locations in 2016 so far (1 January – 31 July) were Richmond (1636 hours), Blenheim (1515 hours), New Plymouth (1451 hours) and Takaka (1444 hours).
Climate Statistics for July 2016 [74 KB]
For further information, please contact:
Mr Chris Brandolino
Principal Scientist – Forecasting, NIWA National Climate Centre
Tel. 09 375 6335, Mobile 027 886 0014