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.

iwonderweather website: adding ‘weather-flavoured insights’ to our history

For those who’ve ever wondered how weather events have helped shape New Zealand’s history, now there’s a website that seeks to tell the stories.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the sinking of the Wahine on 10 April 1968 – perhaps New Zealand’s most recognised weather disaster – so we thought it a fitting time to introduce you to our weather history website:

MetService Satellite Dish Installation.

A satellite receiver ("dish"), for improved reception of data from polar-orbiting weather satellites, was installed at MetService Head Office in Kelburn in February 2013.


Polar-orbiting weather satellites yield rich information about the atmosphere, valuable for New Zealand weather forecasting. Benefits of faster access to more data, and sharper identification tools, include:

Why it's been so dry

For about the last month, anticyclones have dominated the New Zealand area. Many places have had little or no rainfall since early February.

The map below shows the average mean sea level pressure over the New Zealand area over the last month or so. There's no doubt about the pressure being high and not changing very much. Because this map shows averaged pressures, we don't see the few troughs that have passed across the New Zealand area in the last 28 or so days.

It’s a fine day. Isn’t it?

What do we mean when we say the weather is “fine”? The word fine is often used to convey the positive attributes of something. It is synonymous with good, well, enjoyable.

How are you? I’m fine!
How was the movie? It was fine.
This is a fine bottle of wine.

When we write weather forecasts we define the term fine to mean that the sun casts sharp shadows. If cloud is thick enough to stop the sun from casting sharp shadows then, even if it doesn’t rain, we don’t think that’s a fine day.

Our Weather Stations – considerations about their location

Written by Ross Marsden, Meteorologist. 

During spells of fine sunny weather, there are often many comments about the air temperatures shown on our web site, where they are measured, and opinions about them. In this Blog post I will explain the reasons for the location of our weather stations. I will also offer some help about how you can get some use from the information they provide.