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Our weather … you try and work it out

I am flying a large, symbolic white flag on Wairarapa’s weather. I give up. I can’t make head nor tail of what it’s doing, let alone what it will do next.

I’ve got a better chance of working out the winning numbers for the next lotto draw, which, incidentally, is tomorrow and tomorrow’s weather is forecast to reach a high of, wait for it, a rather sad-looking 18 degrees Celsius.

This brings me to the most recent case in point … December weather … and how this week was a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs on the temperature front and, in many respects, a stark contrast to just two weeks ago.

This week has looked more like something we could expect at this time of year. Warm and dry. I’m happy with that. It has been almost predictable, even if there was a more than 10 degrees variance on the highs for the week.

But just a couple of weeks ago, we had more rain than we could cope with. Buckets of it, flooding the streets and making the well-overdue mowing of my lawns entirely impossible. In fact, the rain had made the mowing of lawns a near-impossible task for a few weeks. And while that can be infuriating, it is more perplexing than anything else. Why so much rain in December? The weeds aren’t complaining.

Perhaps there is something of a balancing act going on. The 2022 winter was the warmest on record, eclipsing the previous record set, of course, in 2021.

Meanwhile, Beef and Lamb said that 2021-2022 on the east coast of the North Island was a complete contrast to the previous two summers of drought. For the six-month period to June 30, 2022, rainfall was close to double the historical average at 182 per cent. There was a silver lining to this particular stat. The increased rain allowed farmers to graze a higher proportion of their land during summer and autumn due to the removal of stock water limitations. A helpful surprise, you might say. There are plenty of challenges on the farm right now so a break courtesy of the weather is most welcome.

Over on the coast, Castlepoint had its warmest winter air temperature since records began in 1972, with a mean temperature of 11.8 degrees. The record was an eye-popping 1.8 degrees above average. Further down the coast, Ngawi also had its warmest winter air temperature since records began, with a slightly higher mean temperature of 12.3 degrees.

Not to be outdone, inland Martinborough saw a record-beating warm winter with a mean temperature of 10.1 degrees, 1.7 degrees higher than average. Records on these stats began in 1986.

Wairarapa didn’t make the list for rainfall records.

Niwa said several factors contributed to New Zealand’s warm and wet winter record. It said marine heatwave conditions happened offshore in many regions and were ongoing for more than six months in the eastern Tasman Sea. Which no doubt impacted us.

Niwa said it was likely that the extreme rainfall events of winter 2022 were more intense because of climate change. As if we hadn’t thought about that. Well, most of us.

Roger Parker
Roger Parker
Roger Parker is the Times-Age news director. In the Venn-diagram of his two great loves, news and sport, sports news is the sweet spot.

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