Current Climate


This page presents New Zealand's climate context for the current climatology, 1991-2020, derived from observed, historical data. Information should be used to build a strong understanding of current climate conditions in order to appreciate future climate scenarios and projected change. You can visualize data for the current climatology through spatial variation, the seasonal cycle, or as a time series. Analysis is available for both annual and seasonal data. Data presentation defaults to national-scale aggregation, however sub-national data aggregations can be accessed by clicking within a country, on a sub-national unit.  Other historical climatologies can be selected from the Time Period dropdown list. 

Observed, historical data is produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia. Data is presented at a 0.5º x 0.5º (50km x 50km) resolution.

New Zealand has climate zones ranging from subtropical to subantarctic. The climate is heavily influenced by New Zealand’s location in a latitudinal zone with prevailing westerly winds and by the surrounding ocean. It is also influenced by mountain chains that modify the weather systems as they sweep eastward. This leads to more rainfall in the west and drier conditions in the east. The average rainfall in most urban areas is between 600 and 1,600 mm a year. In the mountain ranges annual rainfall often exceeds 5,000 mm, and in the Southern Alps it can be more than 10,000 mm. However, areas to the east of the main ranges have an average rainfall of less than 600 mm a year. On average, most of New Zealand receives at least 2000 sunshine hours annually.