Meat & Livestock News

El Niño’s Arrival: A Test of Patience for New Zealand


  • El Niño has officially arrived, challenging early sceptics with its delayed but significant impact.
  • WeatherWatch’s Phil Duncan emphasises the importance of patience in weather forecasting, especially for global phenomena like El Niño.
  • Despite the current dry forecast, there’s hope for isolated showers and thunderstorms, offering some relief.

Phil Duncan from WeatherWatch reminds us of the Guns N’ Roses lyric, “All we need is just a little patience,” when reflecting on last year’s scepticism towards El Niño. In spring, before any signs appeared, many doubted its arrival with comments like “So much for El Niño”. However, the pattern has now firmly established itself, proving the doubters wrong and highlighting the need for patience in weather forecasting.

New Zealanders, known for their impatience with weather predictions, often expect immediate changes without considering the geographical and atmospheric dynamics involved.

For instance, a forecasted cold snap from the south takes time to affect the entire country, a concept that seems to escape many. Similarly, the anticipation for rain during dry spells can become a source of frustration.

WeatherWatch has always aimed to manage expectations by explaining potential deviations from forecasts, a principle embodied in their new alerting app designed to minimise surprises. The current dry spell, attributed to El Niño, is expected to persist, with the latter part of summer and early autumn predicted to be the driest. This is due to a combination of factors, including peak temperatures, high pressure stability, and the intensification of westerly flows by El Niño, particularly affecting eastern, inland, and northern areas.

The forecast suggests that while the outlook remains predominantly dry, there’s a chance for isolated showers and thunderstorms, which could offer sporadic relief. However, these are unpredictable and may not benefit everyone equally. The dry conditions are expected to peak now, with hopes that El Niño will fade by winter.

In addition to weather updates, the article touches on broader agricultural concerns, including the need for farmers to effectively communicate their stories to enhance the value derived from their produce. Insights from NZ Story and discussions with agricultural representatives shed light on strategies to improve market perceptions and returns for farmers, alongside addressing environmental challenges such as river management for flood resilience.

This comprehensive overview from Phil Duncan not only informs about the current weather patterns but also delves into the agricultural sector’s efforts to navigate and communicate within these conditions, underscoring the enduring relevance of patience in both weather forecasting and agricultural practices.