Warmer, drier spring likely with La Nina

Daffodils whose bulbs lie well underground seem less likely to be damaged by narcissus fly.
PHOTO: ODT FILES
Spring is traditionally the wettest season of the year in the South.

However, this year, Niwa is forecasting the next three months will be warmer and drier than average for Otago and Southland.

Niwa National Climate Centre forecasting principal scientist Chris Brandolino said air pressure was forecast to be higher than normal to the east of New Zealand, and lower than normal to the northwest.

"This is expected to be associated with La Nina-like northeasterly air flow anomalies. The probability for oceanic La Nina conditions is 57%. The majority of Niwa’s criteria for a La Nina Alert have now been met, including increased trade winds in the equatorial Pacific, an atmospheric response that is La Nina-like, and an expectation for these conditions to continue. This is consistent with other international agencies."

New Zealand’s coastal water temperatures were "well above average" for this time of year, and expected to lift spring air temperatures.

As a result, Southland and inland Otago temperatures were "very likely" to be above average; rainfall totals were about equally likely to be near normal or below normal; soil moisture levels were most likely to be below normal; and river flows were about equally likely to be near normal or below.

Coastal Otago, including Dunedin, was "very likely" to have above average temperatures; rainfall was likely to be near or below normal; and soil moisture levels and river flows were most likely to be below normal.

Cold snaps and frosts could still be expected, he said.

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