NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll says the El Niño we’re currently experiencing will continue to bring a hotter summer to the country, but that there is some good news forecast for the weeks ahead.
“We’re seeing some key differences in the Pacific Ocean that weren’t there during El Niño episodes in the past, and this has meant that weather patterns in New Zealand have been a little different from what we typically expect in an El Niño spring and summer.
“Kiwis will soon be experiencing temperatures well into the 20s and perhaps the 30s during the weeks ahead as we get to that middle part of the summer season when we tend to experience our hottest conditions.
“It’s a matter of being a little patient. The weather is coming right, but it’s taking a little longer than we thought it would earlier in spring.”
The weather this year is set to be more changeable and unpredictable than we’re used to in New Zealand. One constant to expect, though, is wind, wind, and more wind.
“We are expecting strong winds not just over summer, but potentially into autumn as well. By the middle part of 2024, we’ll be sick of these strong-wind episodes we’ve seen.
“You could have two or three days of really nice weather, but it’s then followed by a big southerly. That changes the complexion of your week and it turns things colder.”
El Niño is expected to bring drier conditions to the north and east of both the North and South Islands, while western areas may experience more rain than usual.
Interestingly, New Zealand is one of the few places where El Niño tends to result in cooler temperatures.
The North Island is expected to see improved conditions, while the West Coast may witness a return to wetter weather. There’s also an increased risk of bushfires in Australia during the summer, with the chance of smoke reaching New Zealand.
El Niño, a recurring climate event, warms up the Pacific Ocean near the equator, causing widespread impacts worldwide. It messes with normal weather patterns, bringing too much rain to some places and not enough to others.
In Southeast Asia, Australia, and South America, it often leads to hotter temperatures, droughts, and even wildfires. On the flip side, places like the western coast of South America might face heavy rain and flooding.
El Niño doesn’t just stop at changing the weather. It also shakes up the oceans and disrupts fish populations, affecting the livelihoods of people who depend on fishing. The warmer ocean temperatures during El Niño can even harm coral reefs, hurting marine life.
All these effects show how changes in one part of the world can have a domino effect globally, emphasizing the need to understand and manage these climate events.