New Zealand’s average temperature last month –for the country as a whole– was below the 1981-2010 September avg., Niwa has said in its Monthly Climate Summary.
An unusual warming of the atmosphere high above Antarctica –called a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event (SSW)– assisted in making last month the fourth coldest September in New Zealand this century.
There have only ever been two SSWs recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, previous to this years — one in September 2002 (major) and another in September 2010 (minor).
The 2002 SSW event resulted in New Zealand experiencing a significant cold outbreak in October while the 2010 event was associated with record rainfall during September.
The event, which peaked in mid-Sept, impacted surface weather patterns across the Southern Hemisphere’s mid-latitudes, allowing very cold Antarctic air to drive anomalously-far north.
As well as New Zealand, parts of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, southern Africa and Australia all experienced colder than average temperatures during September.
In NZ, temps were some 0.51C-1.2C below average for many South Island locations, including northern Tasman, much of Marlborough, and Takaka. While in eastern regions, between Rakaia and Dunedin in particular, temps sank even further below the seasonal average.
As a result, many low temperature records tumbled.
I’ve listed a few below:
- Taupō set a new all-time lowest max for September with a reading of 7.2C (45F).
- Akaroa achieved the same feat, busting its old Sept low max with a nippy 6.1C (43F).
- And Timaru set a new all-time lowest minimum for the month of September with a cousin-hugging plunge to -5.3C (22.5F).
In addition, Upper Hutt and Balclutha set second-lowest daily minimums last month, registering -4.4C (24.1F) and -3.7C (25.3F), respectively. And many wind and rain records also reportedly fell.
These three Asian guys sum it all up far better than I ever could:
And lastly, the month of October has begun in the same vein as September with anomalously low temperatures continuing to grip NZ, and yet more surprise Spring snow accumulating on its mountains:
The cold times are returning, in line with historically low solar activity.
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