The Sun Protection Alert has gone mobile for summer

New Zealanders can now check their phone to see when they need to protect their skin from the sun. The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) has worked with MetService and NIWA to produce a range of ways the sun protection information can be easily accessed by the public. In this mix is the inclusion of the Sun Protection Alert on MetService's Towns and Cities smartphone weather apps.

Forecasts and uncertainty

If you look back to the Towns & Cities forecast tabs or the Rural forecasts, you will notice that at the bottom of the 10 day forecasts is this phrase: “Forecasts and temperatures for days 1-5 are produced by MetService meteorologists. Forecasts and temperatures for days 6-10 are automatically generated by MetService's computer weather modelling system.”

Forecasting the fringes – how to use forecasts for outdoor sports in remote areas

New Zealand is great for outdoor sports. Sometimes the weather is too. With summer approaching and long weekends on the calendar, the time is ripe for packing cars and heading off into the great outdoors. But how do you know if the weather is going to be any good when you’re planning a trip, particularly to places ‘off the beaten track’? This blog post is about how you can get a better idea of the weather in areas not covered by regular forecasts - the types of areas frequented by rock climbers, mountain bikers, kayakers etc.

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