Climate Includes Extreme Events – A Forecast Extreme New Zealand Weather Cold and Snow Event

While it is common to state that weather is not climatology, the reality is that climatalogy is composed of a collection of weather events over some time period. 30-year average temperatures and precipitation, for example, are two examples.  NCDC has recently released its new climatological averages; e.g. see

Anthony Arguez, Russell S. Vose, 2011: The Definition of the Standard WMO Climate Normal: The Key to Deriving Alternative Climate Normals Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Volume 92, Issue 6 (June 2011) pp. 699-704. doi: 10.1175/2010BAMS2955.1

It is also important to recognize, however, that extreme weather events are themselves part of climatology. It is such occurrences that often cause the most significant societal events.  It is also useful to identify thes extreme events as there are often claims that extreme events, such as drought and heat waves, will become more common (e.g. see), or less common such as snowstorms (e.g. see).

The extreme snow event in New Zealand that is forecast this weekend is noteworthy in the context of climatology since, according to the IPCC-type predictions, such events should be becoming less common.  The forecasts for this event are quite serious. The news agency TVNZ just released the article

Much of NZ braced for a polar blast

The text reads

Snow to sea level and blizzard conditions are set to hit New Zealand’s deep south, with snowfalls also spreading north.

MetService is warning of a polar outbreak in the deep south overnight tonight and tomorrow morning.

An extremely cold southerly outbreak is expected to bring snow to sea level over the south of the South Island early Sunday morning, the forecaster says.

A heavy snowfall warning has been issued for Fiordland south of Te Anau, Southland and the south and east of Otago including Dunedin.

Snow is forecast to spread to many other parts of the South Island and the lower North Island later on Sunday, it says.

Significant accumulations are likely in Fiordland south of Te Anau, Southland and the south and east of Otago.

The snow is expected to continue on Monday and into Tuesday.

The heavy snow is likely to cause major disruptions to traffic and make driving conditions very difficult, MetService warns.

Strong southerlies, gale-force on exposed coasts, with the cold temperatures will make the wind feel bitterly cold and create blizzard like conditions in some places, it says.

Farmers are being advised that stock may need shelter.

Road workers at the ready

Roading contractors are preparing to work around the clock this weekend clearing snow and laying grit.

The Transport Agency says it’s inevitable restrictions and some closures will be needed during the polar blast predicted.

Spokesman Andy Knackstedt says the number one concern is ensuring people’s safety.

He says people need to plan ahead, check the latest information, and think carefully about whether the journey is necessary or not.

This quite likely will be an historic extreme event for New Zealand, and is not in the direction of expected extreme events forecast such as presented in the news article in Cosmos by Oliver Chan titled

No snow, more drought, climate report warns

that I posted on yesterday in

Interesting Quote On Climate Model Prediction Skill By Steven Sherwood Of The University of New South Wales

source of the two images ECMWF

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