Snow good but . . .

Ski fields didn’t have as much snow as they’d like last year and it wasn’t just the ski season that was affected.

Less snow on the mountains meant less snow melt to feed rivers and underground aquifers.

That combined with drought over summer and into autumn to put a lot of farms under severe pressure.

Good dumpings of snow a couple of weeks ago and the follow up in the last two days is good for ski fields, aquifers, rivers and farming.

But it’s not all good news. Met Service is forecasting the return of El Niño that could dent agricultural production:

. . .The El Nino weather pattern that meteorological forecasters are predicting this year is likely to reduce New Zealand’s agricultural output, based on historic data, economists at Bank of New Zealand say.

Historic data compiled by BNZ suggests a positive co-relation between New Zealand’s agricultural growth and the Southern Oscillation Index, a standardised index of sea level pressure differences between Tahiti and Darwin that is used to determine whether El Nino or La Nina is present.

The index dropped below 15 in May, a level that indicates the coming of El Nino. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed this month that the Pacific Ocean has officially entered into an El Nino pattern that has a 70 percent chance to last through the southern winter and spring.

El Nino typically increases the likelihood of drought in the east of New Zealand as a result of the strong frequent winds it brings from the west and south west, BNZ said. . .

Winters are supposed to be cold but cold weather continuing into spring holds back growth and  a continuation of drought will hit farms and those who depend on them hard.

Most farms and businesses can get through one season of drought but a second one or a continuation of the first puts even the best under a lot of pressure.



3 Responses to Snow good but . . .

  1. Bulaman says:

    The problem is they haven’t asked the Anchovies

    It appears there are plenty of fish who disappear with a true El Nino.

    Models vs reality?


  2. Gravedodger says:

    El Nino, La Nina and everything between, as an Island in the middle of square miles of sea, what happens will be as unpredictable as next Mondays weather.

    The best insurance against what comes is by augmenting storage and utilisation of our bountiful rainfall, something that is as plain as the nose on a face yet to so many who could know better it will be impeded or prohibited at almost every attempt due entirely to misguided philosophy and political ignorance of too many who could make efforts to understand.

    That is the massive failure of placing our water management and utilisation in the hands of housewives and clerks who never will understand how such things work yet they are given the flawed democratic opportunity to be manipulated into electorally supporting equally ignorant councillors under our regional council structures.

    Of course Irrigation is no answer to the travails that are impacting on so much of the old Cheviot County and its coastal lands to the south.
    When an irrigation scheme, whatever its scale, the utilisation of the water is of such a cost it must be employed entirely to make the water and the investment return so it is of no relief to dryland operations.

    I am led to understand much of the land at present ravaged by low soil moisture will only be dealt with by almost total destocking as those farmers are receiving in millimetres what we, only a hundred kms to the south are measuring in inches.
    I was also told recently that Stonyhurst Stn on the coast between Motanau and the Hurunui mouth that has enjoyed a benign existence where dry spells were only minor , this season is enduring a devastating drought along with the surrounding area.


  3. JC says:

    My experience of NI East Coast drought is that you are in drought until one day you go outside and say you are not in drought 🙂

    We were very dry through to Feb and then started to get those little showers that accumulate and by March allow you to say it wasn’t so bad after all.

    I think most of the country is going into Winter in pretty fair condition with even places like Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa receiving about 70% of the norm in April and Marlborough has had a great turnaround near the sea.

    And lets face it.. El Nino has been more the norm these last several decades.. small consolation if you are a dairy start up.



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