Temperature and rainfall
New Zealand is fortunate to have the buffering effect of its oceans in relation to temperature and rainfall changes. Predictions indicate that an annual increase in rainfall levels will be seen in the western regions of the country while in eastern parts a decrease may occur. Mean annual temperatures are predicted to have increased by 0.85 to 1°C over 50 years from 1980-1999 and a further 1 to 1.2°C in a further 50 years over much of the country.
Extremes: drought and extreme rainfall risk
Those regions that are currently drought prone will continue to be at risk with estimates suggesting that droughts may be twice as frequent in some key regions:
inland and northern parts of Otago
eastern parts of Canterbury and Marlborough
parts of the Wairarapa
parts of Hawke’s Bay
parts of the Bay of Plenty
parts of Northland.
Likewise, those regions that are predicted to have increased rainfall events may experience heavier and/or more frequent extreme rainfall events.