Tropical cyclone season 2014

For the South West Pacific, tropical cyclone season is said to begin in November and continue right through to April the following year. However, the weather doesn't follow a rigid calendar and tropical cyclones have been known to form as early as October and as late as the month of June.

Weather Terms

It can be tricky here in New Zealand to fit all the weather for a day in just a few short sentences. Here are some phrases that you will often find in our forecasts and what they mean.

Wet Weather

Wet weather symbols

Top row: Showers, rain and drizzle
Bottom row: Thunder, snow and hail

Warnings, Watches and Outlooks

Sitting out in the middle of the ocean, New Zealand is vulnerable to extremes of weather from all directions; from the remains of tropical systems barrelling in from the north, to cold winter southerlies bringing a blanket of snow.

As New Zealand’s designated national meteorological service to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), it is MetService's responsibility to provide clear, concise and timely warnings of severe weather that is likely to affect New Zealand.

What defines severe?

Rain:

The Weather at Passchendaele

We remember our war dead on Anzac Day, 25 April, the anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli in World War I. But our heaviest losses in that war occurred on the Western Front.

Our worst day was 12 October 1917 – the First Battle of Passchendaele. New Zealand lost 1,000 soldiers in two hours because the high command ignored the effect of heavy rain on the battlefield.

Storm Watch - 24th September 2013

Over the last few days a subtropical low has formed over the seas to the north of the country. It is now starting to make its presence felt over the North Island.  In this blog post we will keep you updated with what’s going on around the country and how the weather is changing.

Maths, Physics and Meteorology

When recruiting and training people to become meteorologists, MetService requires that trainees hold a university science degree in maths and physics. Why maths and physics?

First and foremost, meteorology is a science, and we need people in our National Forecast Centre who are capable of applying the scientific thinking that they’ve developed at university to understand the state of the atmosphere.

Let’s look at specific examples of why maths and physics are important to meteorology.

 

The physics of fog

More comprehensive mountain forecasts aid safety in the outdoors

From Wednesday 31 July, you'll see a new format for the Mountain forecasts that MetService produces under its commercial contract with the Department of Conservation.

While the current mountain forecasts for various National Parks are short and to the point, they rely to an extent on the user being able to "join the dots". One of the main aims of the new format is to be as clear as possible about those weather conditions influencing safety in the outdoors.

Each mountain forecast will contain:

The Shortest Day

June 21st is the Northern Solstice and marks the shortest day here in the Southern Hemisphere.  On the 21st the sunrise is around 7:48am and sunset 5:00pm in Wellington, giving just over 9 hours of potential sunshine for the capital.

The timing of sunrise and sunset varies from location to location, sunrise in Gisborne being almost an hour earlier than in Invercargill.  You can find the sunrise and sunset times for the next ten days on the forecast pages at www.metservice.com, just underneath the towns and cities forecasts.

Napoleon’s Winter

What would New Zealand’s history be like without the First and Second World Wars? Blame the terrible Russian winter and Napoleon’s folly according to historian Adam Zamoyski in his riveting book 1812 Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow. The losses suffered in the invasion, particularly to his cavalry, ensured Napoleon’s downfall the following summer. That led to an aggressive Germany unified under a militaristic Prussia while in Russia, the Tsar came to believe he was God’s instrument on Earth.