After Northland's second-hottest July on record, a decent whack of rainfall predicted in the next three months has farmers rubbing their hands with glee.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) is predicting near average rainfall between August and October — a shift from an earlier forecast of below average rain for Northland during the same period.

Niwa meteorologist Ben Noll said near average rainfall meant Northland should expect between 256mm and 381mm and near or above average temperatures over the next three months.

The mercury in July has been more than 1C above average in places around Northland.

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Whangārei was the third warmest on record with a mean day and night temperature of 12.8C-1.2C above average.

Kaikohe recorded 12.3C, or 1.3C above average, which was the fourth warmest on record.

Noll said even though other places in Northland did not set records, they were warmer than average.

He said the region had the second warmest July on record after 1998's 1.8C above average temperatures just as that year's devastating El Nino climate system was dissipating.

Nathan Mills opted for an ice cream at the Town Basin as Northland experiences a warmer-than-usual temperatures. Photo/John Stone
Nathan Mills opted for an ice cream at the Town Basin as Northland experiences a warmer-than-usual temperatures. Photo/John Stone

"The standout feature in New Zealand's climate has been warmer seas with warmer than average offshore and coastal winds. It means land is also likely to be warmer.

"A lack of southerly winds and the continuation of El Nino in the tropical Pacific also contributed to a warm July," Noll said.

Although parts of the South Island such as Canterbury and lower North Island had higher above-average temperatures, Noll said Northland was still the warmest place in July.

Federated Farmers Northland dairy chairman Ashley Cullen said soil moisture level has to go up heading into summer.

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"The weather has a habit of evening itself out. Farmers have been extremely lucky recently as we've had good weather at the start of calving. The rain had to come."

Cullen said the paddocks were starting to get a little bit wet but it was nothing compared to the past when more rain fell at this time of the year.

"We aren't going from feast to famine. The rain forecast bodes well for summer. The risk, though, is to avoid what the Northern Hemisphere is going through at the moment.

"Rain will get us a good amount of moisture in the ground to enable farmers to make good grass and stocking up on hay, silage and crops in time for summer," Cullen said.

Ashley Cullen is among Northland's dairy farmers that will welcome near average rainfall heading into summer. Photo/Johh Stone
Ashley Cullen is among Northland's dairy farmers that will welcome near average rainfall heading into summer. Photo/Johh Stone

Despite the on and off southerly blast this week, daytime temperatures in parts of Northland such as Whangārei this weekend is forecast to hit 19C with overnight lows of
11C.

According to MetService weather radars, Kaitaia at 12.8C was the warmest in the country around 2pm yesterday.

Leading climate scientist Professor Jim Salinger said July was New Zealand's warmest on record after taking into account more than the official number of weather stations.

Niwa gathers stats from seven stations throughout New Zealand but Salinger looks at 22.

Land temperatures last month finished a record 1.79C above average, and the Tasman Sea came in at 0.72C.

Using the 22 stations' measures, the July 1998 measurement comes in at second at 1.74C above average.

Salinger put much of last month's temperatures down to a Southern Annular Mode (SAM)— effectively a ring of climate variability that encircled the South Pole and extended out to the latitudes of New Zealand - in the positive phase.

In its positive phase, the SAM was associated with relatively light winds and more settled weather over New Zealand latitudes, together with enhanced westerly winds over the southern oceans.

Salinger also singled out warmer sea surfaces, the absence of any strong El Nino or La Nina influence, and a background of global warming.