Due to the expected rainfall over the next week, much of the North Island will likely see at least small soil moisture increases, with some locations possibly seeing moderate increases.
As weather systems tracked toward New Zealand from the west and north, they lacked moisture because of cooler eastern Indian Ocean seas caused by the IOD.NIWA’s climate change expectations suggest spring average rainfall decreases for northern New Zealand, including Auckland.
And while conditions have improved in most regions, NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll says river flows and soil moisture levels remain below normal for large parts of the North Island and upper South Island while before last weekend drought still persisted in the Coromandel Peninsula.
Soil moisture increases will be likely in the next week along the West Coast and in parts of the upper South Island.
Many parts of the South Island saw small soil moisture increases during the past week, although small decreases were observed in northern Canterbury.While soil moisture increases will be possible in the lower South Island during the next week, expect further decreases across Marlborough and Canterbury.
While moderate soil moisture increases occurred across Tasman, West Coast, and the lower South Island, slight decreases were observed across much of Canterbury.With significant rainfall possible in parts of the North Island, many locations will likely see minor to moderate soil moisture increases during the next week.
With many locations across the North Island expected to see weekly rainfall totals of 25-40 mm (with isolated higher amounts), minor to moderate soil moisture increases will be likely in most areas.
The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that severe meteorological drought coverage has receded significantly in the past week, but it is still found in parts of Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, and East Cape.
The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that severe meteorological drought currently encompasses most of Northland, Auckland, northern Waikato, western Bay of Plenty, East Cape, and small portions of interior Manawatu-Whanganui, with meteorological drought in place from Bay of Plenty through the Central Plateau (see NZDI map).
Despite this, soil moisture levels generally decreased slightly during the past week, particularly in the Far North and from Waikato to Hawke’s Bay. The driest soils across the North Island, when compared to normal for this time of the year, are generally found in the northern half of the island along with Wairarapa, while the wettest soils for this time of the year are located in Kapiti Coast.
For scientists to actually quantify how things might get worse in the future thanks to climate change, they need objective measurements.
The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that all of the upper North Island as well as East Cape are experiencing severe meteorological drought, while the southern Waikato and eastern Taranaki to Manawatu-Whanganui and western Bay of Plenty are experiencing meteorological drought (see NZDI map).
“This is perhaps one of the first really big cases where we've seen the real world do something before we've been able to have the capacity to model it properly,” says climate scientist Benjamin Sanderson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, who cowrote a piece in the Nature Climate Change package.
The New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that the upper North Island has widespread severe meteorological drought, with meteorological drought also affecting central Waikato to Manawatu-Whanganui as well as East Cape (see NZDI map below).
The New Zealand Drought Index ( ) shows severe meteorological drought is widespread across Northland, Auckland, and northern Waikato.The summer of 2012-13 featured one of the worst droughts in decades for parts of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, and the western South Island.
Due to the likelihood of heavy rain from Uesi, soil moisture levels will likely increase during the next week across the western and lower South Island.
In addition, the New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that the upper North Island (northern Waikato northbound) has widespread meteorological drought conditions.In the North Island, mostly dry conditions will continue during next week and rainfall is expected to be below normal for the time of year.
In addition, the New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that the upper North Island (northern Waikato northbound) has widespread meteorological drought conditions, and in fact, the Aupouri peninsula and pockets of Great Barrier Island have recently reached severe meteorological drought conditions (see map at bottom).
In addition, the New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) shows that the upper North Island has widespread extremely dry soils, and some locations in Northland, Auckland, and northern Waikato have reached meteorological drought conditions (see map at bottom).
As of 12 January, the New Zealand Drought Index (NZDI) map below shows that the upper North Island continues to have widespread very dry to extremely dry soils, and some locations could approach meteorological drought conditions with additional dry weather in the coming week.
All that rain meant a bumper crop of grasses and other vegetation, which, as hot and dry conditions returned, likely contributed to a combustible mix of fuels that played a role in the severe fires that have swept California in the past two years .These wild swings from one weather extreme to another are symptomatic of a phenomenon, variously known as “climate whiplash” or “weather whiplash,” that scientists say is likely to increase as the world warms.
“During summer, heatwave conditions scorched our seas for the second consecutive year, while several areas of the country suffered ongoing drought conditions, including Nelson-Tasman where prolonged wildfires occurred and a state of emergency was declared,” says NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll.
17 June 2019, Rome - Unlocking the potential of agricultural innovations, be it simple solutions or satellite-based technologies, will help prevent a drought from turning into famine and forced displacement and to reverse desertification, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.
The driest soils across the North Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in central Taranaki District and parts of western Waikato where the soil moisture levels continue to be well below average for this time of year.
Outlook and Soil Moisture In the North Island, rainfall amounts during the next week could be highly variable due to uncertainty regarding the interaction between moisture from Tropical Cyclone Oma and a separate area of low pressure expected to form near New Zealand on Sunday and Monday (24-25 February).