Spring 2016

A wetter and warmer than normal spring for many.

Rainfall

Rainfall was well above normal (> 149%) in the Wellington region and eastern parts of Otago. Rainfall was above normal (120-149%) in parts of Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Tasman and South Canterbury. In contrast, rainfall was below normal (50-79%) in eastern parts of the Wairarapa.

Temperature

Spring temperatures were above average (+0.51°C to +1.20°C) for many parts of the country.  The exception was parts of Northland, Wellington, Nelson, Tasman, inland Canterbury and eastern Otago where temperatures were near average (-0.50°C to +0.50°C).

Soil moisture

At the end of November 2016, soil moisture levels were above normal for the time of year in Wellington, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, Bay of Plenty, southern Canterbury, eastern Otago and Southland.  Soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for northern Waikato, the East Cape, southern Hawke’s Bay and northern Canterbury. 

Sunshine

Spring sunshine was well below normal (< 75%) in parts of Manawatu, Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast, and below normal (75-89%) in Wellington and many inland parts of the North Island. Above normal sunshine (110-125%) was observed in Northland and the west coast of the South Island.

Overview

Overall, spring 2016 was characterised by mean sea level pressures that were lower than normal over New Zealand, and this contributed to an unsettled season for many parts of the country.

Rainfall

Rainfall was well above normal (> 149% of the spring normal) in the Wellington region and eastern parts of Otago. Above normal rainfall (120-149% of the spring normal) was observed in parts of Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Tasman and South Canterbury. Rainfall was near normal (within 20% of the spring normal) for almost all remaining parts of the country. The exception was eastern parts of Wairarapa where rainfall was below normal (50-79% of the spring normal) for the season.  

Soil moisture

Soil moisture levels were above normal for the time of year in Wellington, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, Bay of Plenty, southern Canterbury, eastern Otago and Southland as a result of the abundant November (and spring) rainfall that was generally observed in these areas. In contrast, soil moisture levels were below normal for the time of year for northern Waikato, the East Cape, southern Hawke’s Bay and northern Canterbury. Soil moisture levels were typically near normal for the time of year in remaining parts of the country.

Temperatures

Temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the spring average) in many parts of the country including Southland, inland Otago, West Coast, and the much of the North Island north of Wellington. Temperatures were near average (-0.50°C to + 0.50°C of the spring average) for most remaining parts of the country including Northland, Wellington, Nelson, Tasman, inland Canterbury and eastern Otago. Only four stations (Timaru, Nugget Point, Appleby and Takaka) observed temperatures below their spring average. The nation-wide average temperature in spring 2016 was 12.6°C (0.5°C above the 1981-2010 spring average from NIWA’s seven station temperature series which begins in 1909). This makes the spring of 2016 the 9th-warmest spring on record.

Sunshine

It was a fairly dreary spring in parts of Manawatu, Wairarapa and Kapiti Coast where sunshine was well below normal (<75% of the spring normal), as well as inland parts of the North Island and Wellington which observed below normal sunshine (75-89% of the spring normal). In contrast, Northland and the west coast of the South Island enjoyed above normal sunshine totals (110-125% of the spring normal).  Remaining areas of New Zealand observed near normal spring sunshine totals (within 10% of the spring normal).

Further highlights:

  • The highest temperature was 34.8°C, observed at Gisborne on 23 November.
  • The lowest temperature was -6.1°C, observed at Mt Cook Airport on 9 September.
  • The highest 1-day rainfall was 176 mm, recorded at Milford Sound on 8 November. 
  • The highest wind gust was 182 km/hr, observed at Cape Turnagain on 29 November.
  • Of the six main centres in spring 2016, Auckland was the warmest, Dunedin was the coolest, Christchurch was the driest, Wellington was the wettest and Tauranga was the sunniest.
  • Of the available, regularly reporting sunshine observation sites, the sunniest four locations so far in 2016 (1 January to 30 November) were Richmond (2551 hours), Blenheim (2339 hours), Takaka (2288 hours) and New Plymouth (2228 hours).

Download

Complete seasonal climate summary for Spring 2016. [PDF 717KB]

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Mr Chris Brandolino
Principal Scientist – Forecasting, NIWA National Climate Centre
Tel. (09) 375 6335, Mobile 027 866 0014.