Asperatus?

A call for a new name for a variety of cloud.

The Wind-sock of the Lower North Island

In my previous blog post I wrote about how much the winds high in the sky differ from the winds that we are accustomed to nearer sea level. The winds aloft are usually much stronger than those near the earth's surface, this difference being  especially true in New Zealand. Another difference (which I mentioned in the last blog post) is that the wind we experience every day is more variable, suggesting that the wind aloft is more unchanging.

Red sky at night...

Red sky at night, Shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, Sailor’s warning. I'm not going to argue about shepherds and sailors; that’s not important here. The questions are: “Is it a useful saying? Does is work? If it works, why?” And, “Why is the sky blue?”

An eggbeater southerly

Today’s weather map shows how this cold southerly is being produced by a combination of a HIGH or anticyclone in the Tasman Sea, and a LOW or depression between Canterbury and the Chatham Islands. For want of a better phrase, we could call this an eggbeater southerly.

eggbeater-sml1

Meteorological Aspects of a Recent Trip to the Tararuas

May 4th/5th 2009
I work as a public forecaster and my main tasks include writing regional, urban and mountain forecasts. I either work mornings (which start at 5:50AM and finish mid afternoon), or afternoons (which commence mid afternoon and run until 10:45PM).

Variable 10 knots

Several years ago, while on a trip to the UK, I noticed something of meteorological interest that was not in the sky. I was outside Westminster Abbey, one of the worlds greatest landmarks, and the burial place of many famous people. Sir Isaac Newton, a man who had a profound influence on all branches of science (including atmospheric science) being one such esteemed individual. As I walked around the Abbey, I noticed a plaque that nicely describes what mariners might call "variable 10 knots"...

Canterbury Snow, 10 May 2009

With clear skies over most of Canterbury on Monday, we got a good look at the fresh snow that fell on Sunday (10th May).  Here's the view late Monday morning (around 10:30am) from NASA's Earth Observing System Terra Satellite,

2009-05-10-2225

Fresh snow on the Alps and Canterbury foothills - Monday 11 May 2009. (Image courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Project at NASA/GSFC.)

Brrrrr.......

The arrival of colder southerlies over the past few days has made many of us move into our winter mode ... turning up the home heating, putting an extra blanket on the bed, etc. It has certainly put an end to the golden weather that Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay have been experiencing.

brrr

Image from Neil Gordon: Winter mood near Featherston, Wairarapa, Fri 8 May 2009

The Year of Slipping Dangerously

With rainfall well above normal this winter, it has been a great time for slips: big ones cutting major road and rail links in Kaikoura and other places and thousands of little ones making small mischief on roads and properties all over the country. Houses in Auckland have been threatened for days by slow moving slips, while, in Milford Sound, tourists watching waterfalls had to sprint to safety when the sound of the rain took on a deeper rumble and tonnes of rocks and trees crashed down on the spot where they had been standing.