Press Release March 2017

Weather Data summary for March 2017 for the Blenheim Meteorological station located at Grovetown Park.

200.7 hours sunshine for March is 91% of the long term average for March of 220.2 hours (1930-2016).

March 2016 recorded 241.9 hours sunshine.

March 2015 recorded 244.7 hours sunshine.

March 2014 recorded 232.8 hours sunshine.

March 2013 recorded 255 hours sunshine.

Total sunshine for the first three months of 2017 is 729.0 hours; 98.8% of the long-term average (1930-2016) of 720.1 hours. In contrast the first three months of 2016 recorded 763.6 hours sunshine; 34.6 hours more than in 2017.

At the end of March the rankings for sunshine totals for the first three months of 2017 are:

Tekapo – 1st place

Whakatane – 2nd place

Blenheim – 3rd place

Richmond – 4th place

Rainfall total of 47.0 mm is 108% of the long term average for March of 43.4 mm (1930-2016).

March 2016 rainfall was 46.8 mm.

March 2015 rainfall was 37.4 mm.

March 2014 rainfall was 26.6 mm.

March 2013 rainfall was 22.0 mm.

Rainfall was recorded on 11 days during March. However, six of those days recorded 1.0 mm or less. The highest one day rainfall was 26.0 mm recorded on 11 March.

Total rain for the first three months of 2017 is 136.0, or 101% of the long-term average of 134.6 mm; January 27.2 mm, February 61.8 mm and March 47.0 mm.

January to March 2016 recorded 134.0 mm; only 2.0 mm less than 2017.

Although March 2016 and March 2017 recorded almost identical rainfall totals, Marlborough is much less dry at the beginning of April 2017 than it was at the beginning of April 2016. Almost all of the March 2016 rainfall fell on 23 March, which meant that the rest of the month was very dry, whereas in March 2017 the rainfall was spread across a number of days during the month.

In 2016 February was also very dry (18.0 mm) compared to February 2017 which recorded 61.8 mm rain.

Soil moisture

Shallow soil moisture (5-35 cm depth) at the Grovetown Park weather station was 23.8% on 1 March 2017. In contrast on 1 March 2016 it was 15.1%.

Shallow soil moisture was 24.0% on 31 March 2017. On 31 March 2016 it was 27.5%;   i.e. soil moisture was much more evenly spread in March 2017, in association with the regular rain events.

Mean temperature of 16.3°C was 0.3°C above the long-term average temperature for March of 16.0°C (1986-2016).

March 2016 mean temperature was 17.0°C.

March 2015 mean temperature was 16.8°C.

March 2014 mean temperature was 15.5°C.

 Weekly temperatures in Blenheim during March 2017

  Mean Maximum Mean Minimum Mean      Deviation
 1 –   7 March 22.6 12.5 17.6             +1.6°C
 8 – 14 March 18.5 10.6 14.6             -1.4°C
15 – 21 March 21.8 10.7 16.2             +0.2°C
22 – 28 March 20.1 12.9 16.5             +0.5°C
29 – 31 March      (3 days) 22.1 12.7 17.4             +1.4°C
       
March 2017 Average 20.9         -0.6°C 11.8          +1.3°C 16.3             +0.3°C
Long-term average

1986-2016

21.5 10.5 16.0

 The average daily maximum in March 2017 was 20.9°C (0.6°C below average). In contrast the average daily maximum in March 2016 was 22.4°C (0.9°C above average).

The average daily minimum in March 2017 was 11.8°C (1.3°C above average). The average daily minimum in March 2016 was 11.6°C (1.1°C above average).

 The difference in the daily maximum temperatures can be attributed to the much sunnier days in March 2016.

 Coldest and Hottest days during March

No frosts were recorded during March 2017. The coldest minimum temperatures were recorded on the morning of 8 March, with an air minimum of 5.8°C and a grass minimum of 0.9°C.

The hottest day was 1 March with a maximum temperature of 29.3°C, compared to 28.1°C on 5 March 2016. However, March 2017 only recorded five days with maximum temperatures between 25.0°C and 29.3°C, whereas March 2016 recorded 11 days with maximum temperatures between 25.0 and 28.1°C.

Wind Run

March 2017 recorded average daily wind run of 181.1 km compared to the long-term average of 249.4 km (1996-2016); 73% of the long-term average. March 2017 is now the calmest March on record for the 22 years 1996 to 2017.  This is the seventh year in a row that March has recorded less than average wind-run.

In contrast March 1998 recorded average wind-run of 341.3 km; 188% of March 2017.

Rob Agnew

Plant & Food Research / Marlborough Research Centre

 

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Filed under Blenheim Weather Data, Weather Press Releases.

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