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Old 03-10-2017, 04:05 PM
 
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I don't have a great understanding of New Zealand from a climatic point of view. Can any of you guys give a general summary of the climate in that little corner of the world? I'm particularly interested in the variations. Hottest places, coldest places, sunshine & rainfall patterns, etc.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
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NZ is Oceanic, with some degree of variation due to the geography (relatively thin mountainous islands) and latitude difference (34" to 47")

The mountains tend to rise sharply on the west coast, creating a strong orographic effect, and one of the highest annual rainfalls/snowfalls in the world. It also produces a strong rain shadow effect, probably the most pronounced one in the world, when amounts are considered. The rainfall pattern is varied , with every season being the wettest somewhere, but a subdued Mediterranean pattern is the most common. Thunder is rare in some areas, and even the highest areas see only around 25 days a year. Sea level snow is infrequent in the south, to very rare in the north. but heavy snowson the west coast see glaciers down to 300m at about the same latitude as northern Spain.

Cold fronts are the most common feature year round, and subtropical lows are quite common, so it can be variable within it's modest seasonal range. Hghs are highly mobile with a frequency not too dissimilar to cold fronts, and this create a situation of no strong seasonal sunshine bias.

Some compare it to the UK, but the Atlantic coast from about Brest down to Porto would be a better comparison. Annual temperatures at sea level range from about 9C to 16C, Sunshine ranges from about 1500 hrs to about 2500 hours. Rainfall (in inhabited places)from about 350mm to around 1700mm, Rain days>1mm range from 63 to 170. Record tempearures are around -25C to 42C.

Seasons are moderate, with inhabited areas having no winter colder than 1.3C, and no summers warmer than about 20C. A mostly comfortable climate, with little to offer serious heat or cold lovers. Can see some serious rain though, but not really where people live.

Last edited by Joe90; 03-10-2017 at 05:17 PM..
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:15 PM
 
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I've been doing a bit of research over the last hour or so, mainly by looking at the major cities. The UK comparisons are far from the best, especially if you take the year as a whole. Although the summers are surprisingly similar to parts of coastal southern England, even in terms of sunshine hours. New Zealand's winters are much milder, and therefore don't seem worthy of comparison. New Zealand seems to be a lot sunnier overall, but this is spread out throughout the year, rather than being concentrated in summer, and it also has heavier rainfall, generally.

I honestly can't think of a place that is a mirror image of New Zealand's climate. It really is pretty unique. Oceanic, with relatively cool summers, but capable of supporting a large variety of exotic plants. I guess northern Spain is the best comparison I can think of, but that has noticeably warmer summers.

I'm just surprised that it doesn't seem to have an genuine Mediterranean climate zones, especially in the far north. Which city would you say has the strongest summers? I'm also interested to know which cities are the coldest, are there any towns or cities with cold winters that regularly see snowfall?
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razza94 View Post
I've been doing a bit of research over the last hour or so, mainly by looking at the major cities. The UK comparisons are far from the best, especially if you take the year as a whole. Although the summers are surprisingly similar to parts of coastal southern England, even in terms of sunshine hours. New Zealand's winters are much milder, and therefore don't seem worthy of comparison. New Zealand seems to be a lot sunnier overall, but this is spread out throughout the year, rather than being concentrated in summer, and it also has heavier rainfall, generally.

I honestly can't think of a place that is a close reflection of New Zealand's climate. It really is a pretty unique. Oceanic, with relatively cool summers, but capable of supporting a large variety of exotic plants.

I'm just surprised that it doesn't seem to have an genuine Mediterranean climate zones, especially in the far north. Which city would you say has the strongest summers? I'm also interested to know which cities are the coldest, are there any towns or cities with cold winters that regularly see snowfall?
yep, your's is a pretty good summary SE UK summers and northern Mediterranean winters. The high pressure systems are highly mobile, so high pressure is seldom long enough to deliver Mediterranean weather. Despite that, overseas visitors to my region and other mostly east coast regions, tend to assume that the climate is Mediterranean (until the next rain comes along)

Strongest summers would be Hawkes Bay region in the North Island, along with Poverty Bay/East Cape and the Bay of Plenty regions. The top of the South Island -Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman regions also -these aren't the warmest areas, but have the best combination of temperature, sunshine and stability. Hastings, Napier, Gisborne, Tauranga, Nelson and Blenheim, would be the cities most renown for the summers.

Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill are the standout cities for cold, but would only see snow flurries on several days a year, and settling snow on every other year. No towns of more than about 1000 people any higher than about 350 metres, with Queenstown being the biggest place that would regularly see snow (several times a winter for light falls, and big falls every 3-4 years). Despite that, NZ, particularly the South Island, isn't a hard place to find snow -my town only sees snow about once every 35 years, but permanent winter snow is only about 15km away, and snow will fall to within 10 minutes drive away, about 3-5 times a year on average.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:43 PM
 
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Wow, the daily highs and lows in Christchurch are pretty far apart. Pretty much a 10°C gap, and that's during every month. The record winter lows are surprisingly mild considering the average lows at that time of year. The lows are moderated, the highs aren't. In fact this variation between the highs and lows seems to be a general theme throughout NZ.

Hastings has a great climate, but again, those lows look fairly brutal in winter. I wouldn't know what to wear
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:48 PM
BMI
 
Location: Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razza94 View Post
Wow, the daily highs and lows in Christchurch are pretty far apart. Pretty much a 10°C gap, and that's during every month. The record winter lows are surprisingly mild considering the average lows at that time of year. The lows are moderated, the highs aren't.
Yeah, NZ is interesting for sure.
Like Joe90's climate....gets many sub freezing winter lows but just a couple of degrees
below freezing and he's able to grow all kinds of subtropical and tropical fruits and plants,
all at a location farther from the equator than Philadelphia.

Summarize NZ climate.....mild ...oceanic....summers not too hot,
heck even Canada has a lot of places with hotter summers than anywhere in NZ.

Last edited by BMI; 03-10-2017 at 06:27 PM..
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:04 PM
 
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In fairness Canada does have some pretty warm places in summer. The summers in Osoyoos are a match for almost anywhere, if anything it's too hot for my liking.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Top of the South, NZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razza94 View Post
Wow, the daily highs and lows in Christchurch are pretty far apart. Pretty much a 10°C gap, and that's during every month. The record winter lows are surprisingly mild considering the average lows at that time of year. The lows are moderated, the highs aren't. In fact this variation between the highs and lows seems to be a general theme throughout NZ.

Hastings has a great climate, but again, those lows look fairly brutal in winter. I wouldn't know what to wear
Not really an issue. I have colder minimums where I am (1.1C in July), but expect to be in a t-shirt most winter days. The golden rule with NZ weather though, is always be prepared, at any time of the year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMI View Post
Yeah, NZ is interesting for sur
Like Joe90's climate....gets many sub freezing winter lows but just a couple of degrees
below freezing and he's able to grow all kinds of subtropical and tropical fruits and plants,
all at a location farther from the equator than Philadelphia.


Summarize NZ climate.....mild ...oceanic....summers not too hot,
heck even Canada has a lot of places with hotter summers than anywhere in NZ.
Yep, I call it the OJ index -if you live where OJ from the garden is a reality, then the climate is alright.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Joe90 View Post
Not really an issue. I have colder minimums where I am (1.1C in July), but expect to be in a t-shirt most winter days.
I was scratching my head for a moment, but then remembered that July is winter down there

What are the main factors that allow you to produce oranges? Cornwall seems to have most of the required prerequisites, the low levels of sunlight in winter seem to be the major factor holding it back. Then again, has anyone ever grown oranges outdoors in Cornwall? I'd love to know, although I bet they'd taste crap

Last edited by Razza94; 03-10-2017 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:38 PM
 
Location: New Brunswick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razza94 View Post
I honestly can't think of a place that is a mirror image of New Zealand's climate. It really is pretty unique. Oceanic, with relatively cool summers, but capable of supporting a large variety of exotic plants. I guess northern Spain is the best comparison I can think of, but that has noticeably warmer summers.
Looking at temperature and rainfall patterns Biarritz France and San Sebastian Spain seem particularly close to New Zealand, plus maybe Batumi Georgia.

All these cities as well as a good chunk of New Zealand have appealing climates, which I would describe as oceanic mild.
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