SMC Briefing: Drought – soil, rivers, climate, outlook                                  Briefing start time: 10.30 am (NZT...
2013 drought      Media briefing: 22 March 2013            Dr Andrew Tait: soil moisture            Roddy Henderson: river...
Widespread drought conditions havedeveloped over the last three months
Beginning of January soil moisture status                          Same time      “Normal”            last year         Th...
Beginning of February soil moisture status                          Same time      “Normal”            last year          ...
Beginning of March soil moisture status                         Same time     “Normal”            last year        This year
Mid-March soil moisture status                         Same time     “Normal”            last year   This year
Current soil moisture status                          Same time      “Normal”            last year   This year
February 2013 river flows• Map shows river flows across  New Zealand for February,  related to previous Februaries.• Much ...
Historical perspective on 2013 drought         and seasonal outlook              Dr Brett Mullan             Principal Sci...
How do the 2008 and 2013 droughts compare?PED = ‘Potential Evapotranspiration Deficit’ = water needed for optimum plant gr...
How does the 2013 drought rank?• 2013 is ‘worst’ (highest deficit)  in large parts of: Northland,  Auckland, Waikato, Bay ...
Seasonal outlook: March – May 2013Lower pressures than usual are likely over northern Australia, with high pressuressouth ...
Seasonal outlook: March – May 2013March-May rainfall likely to be “near normal” in North Island regions.How should this be...
The drought and climate change trends               Dr David Wratt            Chief Climate Scientist
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SMC(NZ) Briefing: Drought - soil, rivers, climate, outlook

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Science Media Centre New Zealand - Online media briefing 22 March 2013. Climate scientists answer questions about the ongoing drought in New Zealand. Audio available at sciencemediacentre.co.nz

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SMC(NZ) Briefing: Drought - soil, rivers, climate, outlook

  1. 1. SMC Briefing: Drought – soil, rivers, climate, outlook Briefing start time: 10.30 am (NZT) SPEAKERS: Dr Andrew Tait: Climate Scientist, NIWA Roddy Henderson: Hydrologist, NIWA Dr Brett Mullan: Principal scientist, NIWAAlso on the line for questions:Stuart Anderson - Resource Policy North Dr David Wratt: Chief Climate Scientist, NIWAIsland Regions Manager, Ministry PrimaryIndustry (MPI)
  2. 2. 2013 drought Media briefing: 22 March 2013 Dr Andrew Tait: soil moisture Roddy Henderson: river flow Dr Brett Mullan: historical perspective and outlookDr David Wratt: the drought and climate change trends
  3. 3. Widespread drought conditions havedeveloped over the last three months
  4. 4. Beginning of January soil moisture status Same time “Normal” last year This year
  5. 5. Beginning of February soil moisture status Same time “Normal” last year This year
  6. 6. Beginning of March soil moisture status Same time “Normal” last year This year
  7. 7. Mid-March soil moisture status Same time “Normal” last year This year
  8. 8. Current soil moisture status Same time “Normal” last year This year
  9. 9. February 2013 river flows• Map shows river flows across New Zealand for February, related to previous Februaries.• Much of the country has flows that are in the lowest 10% of recorded values for that month (red).• Nearly all the country has flows in the lowest third (red and orange).• Data from NIWA, Regional Councils, power companies and NZX.
  10. 10. Historical perspective on 2013 drought and seasonal outlook Dr Brett Mullan Principal Scientist
  11. 11. How do the 2008 and 2013 droughts compare?PED = ‘Potential Evapotranspiration Deficit’ = water needed for optimum plant growth over growing season
  12. 12. How does the 2013 drought rank?• 2013 is ‘worst’ (highest deficit) in large parts of: Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, West Coast.• 17% of grid-points ‘worst’ in 2013.• 2013 is second only to 1973 in fraction of NZ ranked ‘worst’ in 41 years of record (affected Wairarapa, Tasman, Otago, Southland). Colour range (purple through olive): purple = worst in 41 years; olive = not in top 5
  13. 13. Seasonal outlook: March – May 2013Lower pressures than usual are likely over northern Australia, with high pressuressouth of New Zealand.Rainfall for the March – May period as a whole is likely to be in the near normalrange for most regions, except for the West Coast of the South Island, wherenormal to above normal rainfall is likely. Because of the existing soil moisturedeficits across the North Island and in the eastern South Island, soil moisturelevels and river flows are expected to take some time to recover in these areas.Autumn temperatures are likely to be above average across the South Island, andaverage to above average in the North Island.Soil moisture levels and river flows are projected to be normal to below normalfor the autumn season as a whole for the North Island, as well as the easternSouth Island, and near normal elsewhere. Next outlook (April – June 2013) due for release Tuesday 2 April
  14. 14. Seasonal outlook: March – May 2013March-May rainfall likely to be “near normal” in North Island regions.How should this be interpreted? Outlook Tercile Probabilities Above Normal Near Normal Below Normal
  15. 15. The drought and climate change trends Dr David Wratt Chief Climate Scientist
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