Weather Watch

Weather analyst Philip Duncan checks the forecast and the story behind the temperatures

Weather Watch: Signs point to smooth sailing during summer

There will be a hot summer with good, brief rain events. Photo / Supplied
There will be a hot summer with good, brief rain events. Photo / Supplied

During the past few weeks, I've been asked frequently about the weather for summer - are we having La Nina or El Nino? (Rough translation: La Nina equals wet, humid and warm; El Nino equals cloudy and cooler in the west, hot and dry in the east).

I was still waiting for Niwa's latest island-climate update but decided to make a guess, based on the current set-up across the Pacific and around New Zealand.

My prediction was that we have no real driving force for our weather at present - no La Nina and no El Nino. I predicted that if we had a neutral period over summer then we could expect a summer similar to our last one - long, dry, hot spells but still some decent rain to keep the grass growing and the water tanks topped up.

Niwa said this week there was "a possibility of La Nina resurgence or neutral conditions during summer". If this is the case, my forecast may not be too far off the mark.

Although, as Niwa's Andrew Lorrey pointed out, this is just one part of New Zealand's weather equation - meaning you can't just look at the El Nino/La Nina prediction on its own.

If we do have a La Nina spell, there is certainly no evidence of it being like the incredibly strong one last summer. Hopefully, we won't have another Cyclone Yasi making landfall - although neutral years (and La Nina episodes) can often lead to increased tropical cyclone activity in our part of the world.

So how confident is Niwa that we may see another La Nina episode in the coming months? Well, not too confident. "All of the models Niwa monitors are predicting Enso-neutral conditions during spring.

"Several dynamical models suggest cool conditions the next few months, but only one indicates La Nina redeveloping over summer."

In my view, this could be a positive early indicator for our summer weather. Last summer gave holidaymakers awesome weather and the farmers were mostly looked after with decent rain events to avoid serious droughts.

Fingers crossed we get a similar summer this year with hot spells but briefly significant rain events, too.

- Herald on Sunday

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